One of the characteristics that is difficult to find these days is integrity.
There seems to be the illusion that you cannot be successful in today’s society unless you are prepared to do anything, including jeopardizing your values and principles. But we forget that success is a journey, not a destination.
It seems to me integrity has been losing its importance during the last 40-60 years or so. Before then, when most people gave their word, they shook hands and the deal was set in concrete.
It was considered being less than human if you did not. Even when men had fisticuffs, when one fellow went down, the other man waited for him to get up before continuing the fight.
These days, as soon as the other fellow goes down, the other sees an opportunity to “lay the boots in” while his opponent is lying on the ground. I think things have changed because we have lost our respect for others, and especially for ourselves.
Keeping promises is what we need to do more of, as long as it is possible for us to do. Like the famous quote by Yoda, from the second Star Wars movie, “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” Or Nike’s trademark, “Just Do It.”
It’s all about not making excuses when you need to do what it takes to get the job done and leaving with your principles and integrity intact.
Like people used to say in the good old days when things did not go the way they had hoped but people stuck to their values, “At least I have my honor.” The Chinese have held this attitude for centuries as well. Do you recall the mantra, “When all is lost, let me die with honor?”
I remember one time when I agreed to help my daughter move out of her house and let her use my van to do it.
However, when it came time help her move, it just so happened I was trading in my van that very same day to purchase a station wagon at the local car dealer! I rearranged the transition with the car dealer so I still could help my daughter move her things because, as I told her, I said I will help you and I will do everything I can to make that happen.
It was a rush to be at the dealership by 5 p.m. that day but I kept my word and I could see she was impressed by my commitment to her. But, it was also a commitment to me and that is a powerfully satisfying feeling to have.
Try it and see if you don’t reach the next level of personal empowerment.