Integrity: The road that leads to real success has no shortcuts. True achievers know that it’s more important to do the right thing and their accomplishments are built on uncompromising standards and unwavering values.
Two years ago, I decided to never jay walk again. I had usually crossed the street at a corner, stop sign or traffic light. However, on occasion I’d decide to cross a busy street mid-block and do the customary darting to the middle of the street, pause, and then look for an opening to complete the short, dangerous voyage. My reasons: I was in a hurry, everybody did it and I’d never been injured.
Jay walking is an act of taking a shortcut. It is an act of doing something that is risky and that breaks rules. It’s unhealthy in the physical world and sets all kinds of bad examples in the both the physical and moral realms of our lives. And yet many of us do it out of habit, not realizing its negative consequences for us and those with whom we interact.
The moment that changed it all for me was when I saw a young couple doing the ‘shortcut thing’ one block from a red light, crossing a very busy thoroughfare with the man pushing a baby carriage and the woman running with two young children. I was stopped in traffic with my roof down on a sunny summer day. I had already been thinking about the foolhardiness of jay walking when I saw the couple with the three children stepping off the curb to begin the dangerous navigation. I shouted to them, “Cross at the corner, it’s a lot safer for all of you and the kids and it’s only fifty feet away.” “F*@&$%k you!” he shouted. “Mind your own damn business!” she intoned. Both were mindless as to what they were teaching their children.
I watched them run through traffic putting all their lives at risk and then glower at me from the other curb as if to let me know that they knew best. As a drove away I said, “Wow, the power of unhealthy old habits, and in this case, dangerous old habits”, to myself.
Doing the right thing often takes more time and often means that we don’t break rules because of situational excuses. It requires us to keep our standards and values in mind all day long so that we can refer to them instantly to help us make the right decision. It’s easy to cut corners; it’s difficult to follow the correct route. Benefits accrue when we act with integrity and when we achieve something, it’s done in a way that fosters forward and upward growth in your life…that produces positive Momentum.
Here is a strategy that I devised and now use daily that helps me stay the course in the practice of integrity, doing the right thing:
Each morning when I awake I tell myself that there is a video camera following me and that what I do and say is being broadcast to young children as an example of how to live their lives. Most often this helps me do things and say things that line up with high standards and values. Occasionally, I err. Then I do the best I can to learn from my error, apologize as necessary and return to my mission of living my life with integrity.
What do you do to have integrity in your life? What will you begin to do today that will result in more integrity in your life?
Please comment on this post and share your thoughts.