I am in a quandary. My boss wants me to over-invoice a supply, which is an unethical practice. At the same time, my promotion is due and depends on the recommendation I get from him. Without over-invoicing the supply, I’m not likely to get a good report, as he’s told me one good turn deserves another. What do I do?

Such a situation is called a moral dilemma and many of us face it at one time or another in our lives. It leaves the victim with little room to manoeuvre. How do we tackle such situations?

Our society today is one where very little thought is given to honesty and integrity and many would readily opt for the wrong thing, justifying it with all manner of excuses. By and large, we have come to promote mediocrity over merit, as those with very little scruples get pecuniary and other compensations for their perceived loyalty. We thus believe that to get far in life, we have to compromise and partake in such practices.

This is very far from the truth. Integrity still counts for something and stands a man out. In a world of rapidly falling standards and values, those able to stand firmly on the path of integrity are considered outstanding. No matter what people say, they secretly admire the virtuous man.

And it is our outstanding qualities that will give us promotion in life. If we can also develop excellence at whatever we do, nobody can take that from us or rubbish us. The world is increasingly being driven by knowledge and many of the leading lights in different fields of human endeavour are smart and knowledgeable people who got to the pinnacle through hard-work, creativity and a desire for excellence. Names like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey easily come to mind.

We should develop our skills and build self-confidence and as long as we stand out from the crowd, we will always find our path in life. A self-confident individual who knows his onions is never afraid. The argument can be made that people’s careers have been truncated because they stood on the path of principles. Should we therefore bend whenever temptations come knocking?

In life challenges must come our way and we need strength and courage to surmount them. Refusing to succumb to every and any obstacle that comes our way is the way to develop strength of character. The society and industries are looking for honest and capable persons to lead and propel them to greater heights. The demand for such individuals is quite high since the world recognises that their supply is low.

Think of what the biblical Joseph would have lost had he compromised with Potiphar’s wife. Standing true and facing the pains of the day, was what prepared him to become governor of Egypt later in life.Build your character, do the right thing always. It will set you apart from the crowd.

Piece written by Oke Okpomo  Follow him on twitter@kpomskerio

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