The Virtue of Integrity

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man”.  ~William Shakespeare, Hamlet

One of the most important values, if not THE most important value or virtue that you want is integrity.  We have all fallen victim to ourselves at times when we are faced with the choice of being honest or dishonest when we have fallen to the side of dishonesty.  It becomes too difficult to admit to a mistake that we have made, or in thinking that we might gain credibility we will tell the proverbial “white lie” which has a few half-truths.  But the fact of the matter is, eventually at some point or the other, the truth will always surface, and once it does we lose whatever ground we may have made up till this point.

When you are honest about your mistakes, believe it or not, by admitting them you are more respected and trusted than you are when you try to hide them.  It is the same as if you were in the court of law, once you have been found to have lied about one point under oath, your entire testimony is then thrown out or placed in doubt, even if you were telling the truth.

At your workplace, integrity is what will help you to progress if there is room for advancement or promotion, and if not it will be what will help you to keep your job.  Too many people think that by trying to “look good” even by deception that this will help them to stay employed, whereas employers are looking for and are in need of honest individuals who they can count on and trust to carry on the business.

On many an occasion I have been tempted to tell those I have worked with that I had completed a task when in reality I had still not done so.  It was just so hard on my pride to admit that I had failed to comply with something and so for fear of others thinking negatively about me I would want to hide the fact.  I have since found out that, even when I fail, when I am able to “man up” to my mistakes, that the end result is not less but greater trust towards me.  It is much more valuable to have someone who admits to being human and who will admit a mistake, rather than one you know will try to cover their tracks.  Those who do try to smudge the truth will make you feel that if they are able to lie about one simple thing, then what they are really telling the truth about!

The thing about telling lies and dishonesty is, once you have told one, then you have to tell others to support your original lie. Then you end up getting all tangled up in your story that eventually you get yourself in a real mess.  There is an interesting little saying that I had learned years ago and it goes like this:  “What a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive”  And that is just what it is like, a sticky, icky spiders web that, unlike the spider who is able to walk around on it, you then eventually get stuck in your own web of deceit.  So, honesty is the best policy, if you want to be truly successful!

Have you been tempted with dishonesty? Did it really pay or did YOU end up paying the consequences?

The Negative Affects of Gossip

Gossip is like a cancer that spreads and kills as it goes! How do you stop it!

I once heard an interesting story told about gossip and I wanted to share it here with you as follows:

There once was woman who did not like what a certain pastor of her church  and what he would say to would say to her. One day the old man’s words were more than she could bear. It was the truth “BUT” it made her so angry that she really began to “butt”.  She went everywhere telling lies and evil stories about him. She tried very hard to turn all of the people against him with her terrible talk and gossip. But the more she talked the sadder she became.  At last she was very unhappy, and began to feel sorry for all the lies she had told.

Finally, in tears, the woman went to the pastor’s house to ask him to forgive her, “I have told so many lies about you,” she said, “please forgive me.”

The old man did not answer her for a long time. He seemed to be deep in thought and prayer. At last he said, “Yes, I will forgive you, but FIRST you must do something for ME.”

“What do you want me to DO?” she said, a little surprised.

“Come with me up to the bell tower and I will show you,” he said, looking straight into her eyes, “but first I need to get something from my room.”

When the pastor returned from his room, he carried a big feather pillow under his arm. The poor woman could hardly hide her surprise and growing curiosity.

The flustered woman could hardly keep from asking what the pillow was for, and why they were going up to the bell tower. However, she kept silent, and a little out of breath they finally reached the church bell tower.

The wind blew softly through the big open windows of the bell tower. From the tower, they could see far out into the countryside that stretched out beyond the village.

Suddenly, without saying anything, the pastor ripped open the pillow and dumped all of the feathers out of the window.

The wind and the little breezes caught the feathers and carried them everywhere:  Out on to the rooftops, into the streets, under cars, up into trees, out into the backyards where the children were playing, and even out to the big highway, and on and on farther still into the distance.

The pastor and the woman watched the feathers flutter away for some time. At last the old man turned to the woman and said, “Now I want you to go and pick up all of those feathers for me.”

“Pick up all of those feathers?” she gasped. “But that is impossible!”

“Yes, I know.” said the pastor. “Those feathers are like your lies about me. What you have started, you cannot stop, even if you are sorry. You may be able to tell a few people who you lied about me, but the winds of gossip have carried your lies EVERYWHERE. You can blow out a MATCH, but you cannot blow out the great forest fire that one match can START!