Archives For Ethics

Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”
~ Rumi

Do you lack desire?
Do you dread getting out of bed in the morning?
Do you get to excited for Friday and dread Mondays?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you might want to reevaluate your life this coming year. I doubt that the Grand Overall Designer (G.O.D.) placed you on this earth to be miserable. So why do so many people seem to be?

One reason, or the main reason, is what Rumi stated in this quote, if your work isn’t your desire, it really isn’t in your heart. And if something really isn’t in your heart how much do you put into it?

That’s why companies pay people a salary, so they will do something that doesn’t add to their desire. Most people’s work isn’t what they desire to do so the money they receive will help them achieve their desires. That’s one reason why people volunteer and work without pay, they have a desire to add value to others or a worthy cause.

When people have no goals in life, have they given up on the possibility of fulfilling their desires and achieving their dreams?

Sometimes I think that there really are dead people walking amongst us. Their dreams are dead and they move through life emotionless. Their bad habit is thinking “they can’t” instead of “I can do what I love to do and get paid to do it.”

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with working in a job that you like because it gives you the resources to pursue your desires. Most people start there, jobs help us find and hone the skills needed to pursue our desires. If the job you’re in doesn’t even do that, it gives you no happiness, well, you need to decide if it’s worth being one of the walking dead.

Find desire in what you do or do what you desire. It’ll make for a happier life.

When you think about the word value, you can give it two different meanings. The first meaning is material; what is the value of a product or service and what are you willing to pay for it? What’s the monetary value of the exchange? The second definition of value is spiritual. What beliefs do you have to guide you through life? Unfortunately most people don’t put a ‘value’ on their own values, and they wonder why they can’t become prosperous.

Personal values, like the physical value of an object, may have no monetary value yet still cost something. Personal values are purchased through sacrifices to strengthen the level of value you seek to achieve.

If someone values themselves more than others, they will put a lower price (worth) on other individuals, and in turn lose the ability to influence those people to their own ideas and purpose.

So, if a person values others more than themselves, they not only have themselves to pursue their purpose, but also those that they show who they value more than themselves. In turn when you show others you value them by caring for them they help you pursue your own dreams. As Zig Ziglar said, “If you help enough people get what they want they’ll help you get what you want.”

If a person has a lower set of values they seem to expect others to display a higher level of value towards them. Those who lie, cheat and steal don’t like it when people lie, cheat and steal from them. But in reality they receive what they themselves value.

You cannot receive what you do not give. It’s called the Law of Attraction.

Some people place a different level of values in different areas of their lives. The more physical or spiritual value they believe they’ll receive is the level of value they place on it. I can think of four different areas that our values may be at different levels;

  • Family Values
  • Work Values
  • Personal Values
  • Spiritual Values

If you value your family more than money, you’ll resist working long hours, sacrificing money for family time. Although at times a person may need to do so in order to properly provide for their family. If this is the case there may be other values that keep them in that state.

The person who is untrue to themselves will struggle to keep the same level of values between the different areas of their life. They may never lie to their boss for fear of losing their job and income, but they’ll lie to their spouse in order to fulfill their own pleasures. This is obvious when someone suffers from a lack of will power and become slaves to a specific addiction.  If I lose my job I won’t be able to afford the prostitute or the addictive substance. But, that addiction may lead to a divorce.

They value themselves and their addiction more than others. Addictions are powerful and take control of a person’s thoughts and ultimately their life. They become habits and habits can be changed when you change your values.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

If you value health and life more than the simple pleasures of alcohol or tobacco, you won’t abuse them.

Let’s reflect for a moment on the most commonly known value, one that most religions and cultures share, the Golden Rule. Here’s a few; (1)

  • Brahmanism“Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you”. Mahabharata, 5:1517 
  • Buddhism:  “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18
  • Christianity“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12, King James Version.
  • Confucianism: “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to
    you”
     Analects 15:23
  • Ancient Egyptian: Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.” The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant,
  • Hinduism“Do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.” Mahabharata 5:1517
  • Humanism: Don’t do things you wouldn’t want to have done to you.” British Humanist Society.
  • Islam“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” Number 13 of Imam “Al-Nawawi’sForty Hadiths.”
  • Judaism“…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”, Leviticus 19:18
  • Native American Spirituality: “Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself.” Pima proverb.
  • Roman Pagan Religion: “The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves.”
  • Taoism: “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien.

So it seems to me that most religions and cultures follow some form of the Golden Rule. Then why does it seem like society is slowly getting worse? Seventy percent of Americans report that they believe American values are getting worse and 46 percent say it won’t be better in ten years.(2)

Is this because we’re living the Golden Rule, but how we value ourselves is worse? If I treat myself with less respect and have lower values, then that’s what I expect from others. If I don’t take respect myself, or even trust myself, than how can I trust others.

Has the Golden Rule changed to “Do unto others before they do unto you!”

Now this would work if people where “Paying forward” with kindness and generosity. But that isn’t the mindset with some, they think, “Let me get you before you can get me.”

How sad, but I can understand why, can you?

Have you ever lied to yourself, promised that you would do something for you, but didn’t? If so, then why would we expect someone else not to lie to us?

It all starts with self, and sometimes in order to become more aware you need someone to ask you the right question;

“How can the values of trust and respect be given to you when you struggle to trust and respect yourself?”

What do you value? What promises (goals) have you made for yourself? Build your business, build better relationships, lose weight, become a better leader?

What are you doing to achieve it?

References:

(1)  The Golden Rule: A list of two dozen versions.  http://hipstermonk.com/the-golden-rule-a-list-of-two-dozen-versions/)

(2) 21 Charts That Explain American Values Today.   http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/06/21-charts-that-explain-american-values-today/258990/

Dr. Henry Cloud’s book on integrity uses an example of a boat cutting through a lake leaving twin plumes of water. According to Cloud, we cut two swaths behind us as we travel through time: people and relationships.

Dr. Cloud suggests that our legacy is defined by our personal wake. How is the quality of our relationships—in our families and in our business? And what is the quality (and quantity) of the tasks we’ve accomplished?

According to Cloud, the quality of an individual’s personal wake is mostly determined by his or her character and integrity. They are:

  1. Trust – The ability to connection authentically with others and to build trust.
  2. Truth – An orientation toward the truth, which leads to finding and operating in reality.
  3. Results Focused – The ability to get results and finish well which leads to you reaching goals, profits and mission.
  4. Embracing the Negative – The ability to deal with the negative which leads to ending problems, resolving them, or transforming them.
  5. Growth Focused – An orientation toward growth, improving.
  6. 6. Adaptability – The ability to be transcendent which leads to enlargement to a bigger picture and oneself.

Dr. Cloud ends the book with some take away points;

  • Integrity isn’t something you “have or don’t have.” You have aspects where you do and other parts where you don’t.
  • Even the high achievers don’t have it all together, they have gaps also.
  • All of us have issues in our character that are great opportunities for growth and development, we’re all human and have flaws, accept it, embrace it, and keep on your journey.
  • When you understand where character comes from you can better understand and accept your gaps and others.
  • When you understand where character comes from you see what you can do to help you grow.
  • The last item Dr. Cloud leaves us with is hope in that we know we can improve and see results.

It really does take integrity to have the courage to meet the demands of reality. It takes leading yourself first, and I think that’s the hardest person to lead.

If you’ve read the book, what are your thoughts?

If someone isn’t honest, does that mean they have no integrity? Is honesty or integrity situational?

I’ve heard some people say that they didn’t want to talk to someone about an issue because it might hurt their feelings. But are you doing more damage by not being honest with them? If their behavior affects their work performance or ability to communicate with people, they need to know. If they dispute the information at least you know, with integrity, that you did what you thought was right. It was the other person’s lack of integrity to receive the information with an open mind and to do something about it. They can always follow what Walt Whitman said,“Re-examine all that you have been told . . . dismiss that which insults your soul.”

That is what a person with high integrity needs to do also, because individuals with low integrity will try to discredit those with high integrity. Average people like to keep others average. They don’t like it when others move farther up the success ladder.

When you look in the mirror, what do you need to tell the person you’re looking at? Are you stuck because you struggle to be honest with yourself? Do you need to continue your education, lose weight, make more friends, or spend more time with family? The person in the mirror is the one who is responsible to make those things happen, not anyone else.

What truths do you need to face?

Integrity, one moment you have it and the next you don’t, and all it takes is one bad decision. How does that happen?

©-XtravaganT.jpg

©-XtravaganT.jpg

Is it because of the decision, or how you executed it? Survey says, probably both. Was the decision focused on “what’s in it for me,” instead of “what’s best for everyone?”

What’s funny is that it probably wasn’t the one incident that lead to a loss of integrity, but a series of poor small decisions that you made. I think John D. MacDonald had it right when he said,

“Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you know he never will.”

I struggle when having to make decisions on a course of action knowing someone else has low integrity and only focuses on what’s best for them. Of course that’s how you interpret it, the other person may see it totally different. That’s when you need to have the courage, and yes, integrity, to discuss what you believe the right decision should be.

I like what John W. Gardner said,

“Men of integrity, by their very existence, rekindle the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor. We need that belief; a cynical community is a corrupt community.”

If those with no integrity live in moral squalor, will that eventually lead to financial squalor?

Look at the past history of individuals who became financially wealthy, but didn’t have integrity. Business and economic text books have case study after case study how highly successful people lost everything because they made decisions that focused on themselves.

How do people lose integrity? You usually see it when something finally blows up. They get caught embezzling money, cheating on taxes, having an affair, sometimes even committing murder. People don’t just wake up one day with no integrity. I think you lose it over time. It becomes easy to do what’s easy and self-fulfilling. Here’s an article that explains some research in how people lose their integrity. (Thanks Jonel for sharing it) http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/08/05/what-strengthens-and-weakens-our-integrity-part-i-why-small-choices-count/

You have to walk a straight line, always. The moment you veer off it could be the time that the line breaks. Look what happened to Tiger Woods, he still hasn’t gotten his game back.

Where are your integrity cracks? What can you do to make sure that they get filled in?

Check out the video from Zig Ziglar and his thoughts on integrity; Zig Ziglar – True Performance – Integrity http://youtu.be/8wcnYvFJnOg

Is there a situation when you thought you had the right to do something but it was against the law or company policy? An example I can think of are people who chose to drink and drive, they know it’s against the law, but they feel that they have a right to still do it because they can “handle it.” Or, I can come into work a couple of minutes late because I don’t take my breaks. It’s easy to justify why we break the little rules.

In time those little violations end up becoming bigger and bigger. Ultimately we end up shredding documents prior to the auditors coming to inspect your financial paperwork.

Don’t fall into “Ethics Creep” where small unethical acts become easier and ultimately leads to larger unethical acts which leads to felonies.