Steve, my best friend's brother had a thriving business upstate New York. He spotted a good industry and positioned himself really well. After a bit of struggle, determination and hard work, heaven was beginning to smile on him. Business was doing well, he had a really nice house up there with friends milling around him. Every now and then, he throws a party for his friends. With loads to eat and drink his parties were always well attended. I've been up there more than twice on vacation with my family, it was always an exciting time. Steve was a summary of the American dream.
Unfortunately the good fortune of the young coloured gentleman in a predominately white community attracted some attention. Don't be fooled not all smiling with you are actually smiling for real. If you look carefully some might just be a grimace.
The big players in the industry were beginning to feel a bit jealous because in addition to having a good head, Steve happens to be a genuinely good person. He's fun to be around and he'll bend over backwards many times to satisfy the desires of his clients. Words about him spread like wild fire. This only made the competitions more jealous.
When your competitions feel the heat from your blaze, it's difficult to determine how they'll react. While we know we no longer live in the Wild West where everything is settled with the barrel and unless you're in certain industry, it's not likely you'll be dealing with the likes of the Gambinos or Al Capone. The truth still remains that desperate people do desperate things.
One lovely day about five years ago, Steve was moving one of his huge equipment's from one site to another. He was stopped by a police officer and taken into custody because the system says a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
A legal battle began which everyone thought would only be a matter of days. At first he was accused of not having the right clearance from the City as required for his business, later only he was also accused of not having the right insurances. At one point he was even offered a release probably with a police caution if he'll admit drink driving. Steve of course refused this; the guy doesn't even drink tea or coffee, let alone alcohol. As the saying goes, in prosperity our friends know us but in adversity we know our friends. All of Steve's friends left him. His house went into foreclosure.
When his case eventually went to court, the presiding judge on the case offered him leniency if he'll agree to the plans to have the case without a jury. Steve refused this option immediately, making the judge very angry, he promise to send him down for the maximum if the jury should find him guilty. In the end Steve was discharged and all the fabrication against him exposed as false, he simply hasn't done anything wrong. He was well praised by even the members of the jury. It ended well for Steve, he won his case but not before losing his business, his house and over ninety days in custody.
Don't be fooled, as you begin to hatch your eggs along your success journey, not all will be happy for you. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot more good people around you than bad; the only problem is the baddies do such a good job of it that the good sometimes fade into insignificance.
When you face the fury of the wicked, there are two ways to fight. You can attempt to fight the wicked fire for fire, while I don't doubt your strength, this will mean fight the wicked in his territory. You're not likely to defeat him on his turf. The other way to fight is to allow your integrity to fight for you.
According to John Maxwell, there are three ways to relate to people. The low road where we treat people worse than they treat us. The middle road where we treat others just as they have treated us and the high road where we treat others better than they have treated us.
Steve's integrity and good nature must have helped him, even when he had an opportunity to sue the city and others, he simply wouldn't. A couple of years later a few of the baddies behind his woes were rounded up by the FBI, tried and sent to jail for various offenses.
It takes courage and integrity to take the high road with people, the most natural thing to do is to want to treat others as they have treated us. However, a person of integrity has decided already that there's a level he or she won't go below no matter how tempting. This decision though costly at the beginning, in the long run, it pays off.