As an ethics professor and professional speaker on living an authentic life, my advice to students always begins with this remarkable fable:
Imagine a racing greyhound named Cash. One warm summer evening, Cash sits outside on the front porch and discusses the future with his owner. The duo is world-famous and financially stable from the payouts of many big races. Between memories, Cash drops a bombshell and says, “I have made a decision. I have decided that I cannot race anymore. My career is finished!”
His startled owner queries, “I must not have heard you correctly Cash, are you too old to race?” “No,” Cash replies, “I still have some race left in me.” “Well, do I mistreat you?” asks the owner. “No, no, you’ve always treated me wonderfully,” answers Cash. “Then why?” wonders the owner – still in shock – “Why would you give up on our chance to be rich and famous…”
Cash cuts her off in mid sentence and makes a simple, yet profound statement: “After running and running and running all of these years, I finally realized that the rabbits I’ve been chasing all my life are fake and I don’t want to race anymore.”
We all chase fake rabbits in one form or another. We desire popularity and respect from our peers and we strive to possess the same amenities as our neighbors. We tell white lies to avoid telling hard truths and fake it to appear more intelligent, more attractive and more accomplished than we really are. Worst of all, we readily blame others and avoid taking responsibility for our mistakes in order to save face.
We are all human and conditioned from childhood to chase worldly success in the form of excessive wealth, popularity, and recognition. Unfortunately, these “successes” rarely create the true and sustainable happiness we have always desired and we sometimes wonder where we steered off course. The great thing about life, however, is that the road to lasting, authentic success contains many on-ramps. Although we have chased fake rabbits in the past, we can move towards authentic success in a split second. The only thing missing is the motivation.
At this point, you are likely asking, “Well, chasing authentic success sounds like a good idea, but what exactly are the real rabbits I should focus on?” To me, real rabbits are the things that really matter in life such as:
(1) a strong moral character,
(2) solid personal relationships and
(3) a sense of contentment as you wake up each morning.
Once we choose to chase after these things, we strive to tell the truth, desire to make better decisions and learn to take personal responsibility for our mistakes. More importantly, we experience the lasting benefits that come with authentic success. Bring me in to speak and help you and your organization walk down this path to authentic success!
More on Corey Ciocchetti: an Associate Professor of Business Ethics and Legal Studies at the University of Denver, Corey Ciocchetti is one of the University’s most popular and highest-rated professors. Corey joined DU after graduating with a law degree from Duke University School of Law, a Masters degree in Religious Studies and two Bachelors degrees in Finance and Economics—summa cum laude—from the University of Denver.
Corey is a talented speaker and teacher and has won multiple teaching and speaking awards including the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award by the University of Denver Alumni Association and CAMPUSPEAK’s Joel Goldman Award. He currently teaches classes on business law and ethics in a department ranked by the Wall Street Journal and Business Week in the top ten nationwide for producing students with high ethical standards.
Corey also speaks to tens of thousands of individuals each year about “authentic success” and living an ethical life and is the author of the book Real Rabbits: Chasing An Authentic Life. He has spoken to diverse audiences, including the University of Hawaii Pediatrics Residency Program, undergraduates at MIT, the Federal Reserve Bank, the National Fire Leadership Academy, the Colorado State Patrol and the third graders of Mapleton School District in Adams County, Colorado (that one was tough). He has spoken in over 225 cities and 42 states over the past ten years. A Colorado native, Corey resides in Westminster, Colorado with his wife, Jillian.
Learn more about Corey at campuspeak.com/corey.