“I went to Barnes and Noble and couldn’t find my favorite magazine. I asked the clerk where the magazine was, and the clerk said the magazine went out of business.”
“Your favorite magazine, eh? Why didn’t you subscribe?”
“Subscribe? Are you kidding me? I have enough bills. I just read the magazine at the store.”
What is Loyalty?
To be loyal is to show a commitment or an obligation to a certain entity, organization, person, religion, etc. For example, you can show your loyalty to your parents by obeying them. You can show loyalty to a friend by keeping secrets. You can show loyalty to a business by purchasing products on a regular basis.
From the above example, the person reading the magazine is loyal to the magazine’s content, but not loyal to the magazine’s success.
Why Should You Be Loyal?
When I was in college, one of my professors brought up an example of loyalty and a local business called Kyoto Bowl. The professor asked the question, “Are you responsible for the success of Kyoto Bowl?”
The obvious answer of course is, “No. I am not.” Why should I care if the business remains closed or open?
However, what if I started eating at the restaurant on a twice a week basis? Would I then be responsible for the the restaurant’s success? Again, I would argue that the answer is no. My ten or fifteen dollars a week I place into the business is not nearly enough to pay for the business expenses that the restaurant incurs.
Could I still be loyal to the business even though I’m not directly responsible for the success of the business? Of course. I could recommend the place to my friends and wear a t-shirt advertising the business. However, if the business fails, I am not directly responsible.
Another Real-Life Example: Pirated Music
Could I be loyal to a band I like by listening to the music yet refusing to buy the band’s CD? I would argue, yes. I am responsible by law to support the artist, however. I could be loyal to the band’s music, but not loyal to the financial success of the band.
However, what if I wanted the band to produce a follow-up CD? A band typically will only release a second album if the first one is a financial success. Do I have a right to get annoyed if the band doesn’t produce a follow-up CD? Would it make a difference if I planned to pirate that one too?
Note: Just for the record, I do not pirate music.
Are You Loyal to Anything?
Here is my question for the reader: where do your loyalties lie? Do you see a big difference between loyalty and responsibility?
Loyalty is rather tricky. If you show a commitment or obligation to something, but that something doesn’t work out, was it because you weren’t loyal enough? Was it because you were loyal to the wrong things?
Perhaps it is because loyalty by itself cannot assure the success of anything. What are your thoughts?