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“If there is a true measure of a person’s soul, if there is a single gauge of real divinity,

of how beautifully a fellow human honors this life,

has genuine spiritual fire and is full of honest love and compassion,

it has to be right there, in the eyes.” 
~Mark Morford



Words Carmel Rowley

In the instant fast paced world of today the lines between clients, friendship and morals are becoming blurred. Over the years I’ve thought long and hard about the client, friendship – relationship, though I’ve never had any illusions about the people with whom I dealt. When I sift through my memories, I can recall a number of instances when I’ve experienced underhanded tactics. One which pops straight to mind and makes me smile is – in the 1970’s a well-known breeder attempted to make us feel very privileged by offering us a purebred filly with strangles for $8.000 dollars. Naturally we didn’t feel at all privileged, the opposite in fact and naturally we didn’t buy the filly.

 My point is not to outline the tactics but to reinforce the idea that people have a long memory when it comes to immoral things done to them. On the other hand does that mean people have a short memory when the opposite is the case? Maybe it’s worth thinking – would I do this if it were the one and only action by which people were going to remember me by?

Hugh Mackay in his book “Right and Wrong” talks about stimulating moral mindfulness and mentions a four way test used by members of Rotary Clubs for decision making.

1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be better for all concerned?

Hugh goes on to say: ‘Those are good questions because they encourage us to think beyond specific moral prescriptions of rules. They point to some general principles we might apply when faced with a tricky decision, and they offer us a framework for examining the underlying moral issues.”

I firmly believe as horse breeders we owe our clients/friends and the horses (who cannot speak for themselves) a moral duty to tell the truth and be aware of the ethical scope of whatever we are selling, buying or promoting. Hugh also reminds us to “… always imagine what the consequences are likely to be, for all concerned.”

Personally we’ve made many extraordinary friendships and acquaintances over the years – far more joy than misery but I know from talking to others this is not the case for everyone. I can add here that most relationships remain as the friendly person who sold or brought something and that’s quite acceptable.

After all friendly means pleasant and we should always be pleasant to our clients. But, the difference between client-friendly and friendship is a cavern so wide you have to plot a course to cross. When you think about it – friendship is a bond, another human being you can trust completely, someone who wants the best for you. Friends share times of sadness along with celebration, being together without needing to pretend and offering forgiveness if pretences occur.

While I don’t consider client/friendships as a bad thing, I have observed how some client/friendships only serve as a vehicle to market what people may have to sell. For instance the flattering idea of a friendship with someone of importance or a specific farm immediately drives the client’s self-importance to new heights and they desperately want to be friends. But often these so called friendships gradually peter out once the purchase has been completed and the purchaser realises they now have full responsibility of making a success of their purchase.

Calculated lies are often used to secure an advantage and if behaviour misconstrues intentions to make a sale or to secure something desirable, the client or friend is showing you the type of person they really are. Take their actions on face value especially if they’ve not done what was promised or part of an agreement, believe them, and don’t think their behaviour will be different for you.

There have been many times when I’ve questioned becoming friends with a person I was dealing with but wonderful relationships can come from the most unlikely places. I have to mention here that my journey into writing and publishing has opened a whole new world full of challenges as well as many new friends.

I’ve always been on a life journey of self-discovery (I am a little obsessed by this) so I feel everyone should learn to really know themselves. At some stage or another all friendships present a challenge, even more so if there’s a client/competitive element involved.

Again Hugh MacKay quotes the Lama Surya Das from Awakening the Buddha Within: “When confronted with different points of view of what is right … remind yourself that your own conscience is the main judge of your action. Of course we can always learn from others, but finally each of us can only trust our own intuitive heart.”

And lastly, there are some important things to remember about the difference between clients versus friends. Friends know the difference between pretence and substance, where clients may not. Friends bask in the glow of other’s triumphs, clients probably don’t. They possibly wish they were there instead of you and often think they know what you’re thinking, while wondering what’s in it for them.

With friends the nicest thing would have to be that there are no illusions. Friends feel a moral duty towards your well-being but the biggest plus of all is that they will always be there for you when you need them.






2 Responses

  1. Liz vanderlinde-keep
    | Reply

    Thanks Carmel a great and interesting piece of work. Unfortunately one requires a degree of insight to understand and apply these principles. Many lack insight, and therefore will never understand their obligation and moral duty and some are plainly dishonest. A breeder of renown once tried to sell us a stallion who unbeknown to us as newcomers had a reputation as a man eater. Extremely immoral and as a consequence I would not purchase a horse nor recommend this breeder to anyone despite their reputation or their feigned friendship.

  2. Carmel
    | Reply

    Nice to have you here Liz and thank you for your comment – I’m a great believer in what you put out you get back – all to do with my seemingly never ending journey of self -discovery.
    We really do grow from our life experiences, my wish for everyone is that their growing encompasses understanding and forgiveness, no matter how painful.

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