Habits that are learned while young are hard to break while older.
Habits that are learned while young are hard to break while older.

The ancient Greek philosopher Sophocles wrote, "I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating. " For some people, this is a completely alien concept. Cheating is a way for them to win and get what they want now. Honor and dishonor are meaningless if they win. They easily see the advantages in cheating, but often don't look at, or ignore, the potential dangers in playing by their own rules instead of society's.

It Sometime Works

Cheating can help you get ahead when it works. An "A" on a final college paper that you bought instead of a "C" on one that you wrote yourself may be enough to push you in front of the crowd to qualify for a special program. Calling a tennis ball out when you know it was in may help you win a $5 bet with your opponent. There are many circumstances during the day where a slight boost or tilt in your direction makes the difference between bad and good — or good and even better.

It is Easy To Do

Cheating doesn't have to be dramatic to tilt odds in your favor. Glancing at a confidential report that gives you advance notice of personnel changes, bribing the copy clerk to make sure your presentation gets done before your office competitor's, or asking a friend to text you the hard questions on a test that he takes before you do only takes moments to accomplish and are easily deniable if someone suspects you.

A Habit Becomes A Rut

Cheating successfully once often leads to cheating again. And again. It can quickly become a habit that turns into a chronic lifestyle. Without cheating, you become afraid of failure or being exposed as someone in over his head. Even simple tasks that you could easily do yourself become another opportunity to game the system. It becomes a filter through which you begin to see others, influencing your view of them. If they win big at something, it's easy for you to believe that they must have cheated, because you know you would have. If you lose at something, it also must be because someone cheated on you.

Cheating Destroys a Life

The punishment for cheating at academics by plagiarism is harsh at most colleges — but not any harsher than companies treat employees who cheat. A cashier in a supermarket who is suspected of cheating will never again be trusted by co-workers even if nothing is proven. A business owner who cheats his customers will soon be out of business when word spreads. Cheating as an adult can lead to prison time, financial and family ruin, and shunning by others. While many cheaters never get formally exposed, word eventually gets around as to who should be avoided within a company or social setting.