Faith is not a choice

Keeping the faith is not always easy. It is also not a choice.
“Why should I bother being enlightened in a world of unenlightened people?” I asked my therapist almost 20 years ago.
I was fatigued by the process of working on my own demons and I had started to believe I was already operating at a level higher than most of the normal slobs I regularly encountered. This was to be my reasoned exit from treatment and a reentry into the world of the blissfully ignorant.
“Do you think you have a choice?” she responded.
With that simple question she blew away my plans for a peacefully pointless existence amongst the unexamined masses.
There were things I could never un-learn or un-experience. I had felt the buoyancy of knowing that the power to change the world was within me. I just had to change myself. I had seen the light shining brightly on my responsibly to change my reactions to life. I had developed faith in a process of applying principled living to everyday life.
Principled living had produced miracles; sobriety, relationships, career advancement, and most importantly, peace of mind.
The faith was there, no matter how diminished, and it had forever ruined my ability to lead a truly unenlightened life.
So be it. Let the work begin, and continue, forever.


Integrity is NOT what they tell you it is

Integrity is required if you want someone to respect anything you have to say, any decision you want to make, or any promise you intend to keep. Without it you cannot be trusted, and without trust your ability to lead is doomed.

The pious would have you believe that integrity is about holding a high moral standard that they will define. Do not be confused. Do not be strong armed into believing that being out of alignment with the establishment’s values means you do not possess integrity. That is simply not true. It is a perversion of what integrity truly means. Besides, your set of values is just as sacred to you as their set is to them.

Integrity does not choose sides, it only measures adherence to what you profess to believe in.

Being in a state of integrity does not require that you hold a singular set of moral standards. It requires something simpler, more profound, and requiring a greater sense of personal responsibility and courage – that you consistently speak and act in accordance with your own values.

Integrity is what causes a liberal who believes in freedom of speech to fight for the right of the conservative to be heard.

Integrity is what causes a conservative who believes in smaller government to fight against the government’s intrusion into the bedroom.

Integrity is what keeps a manager from making false promises and telling people what they want to hear in order to avoid conflict.

It is incumbent upon you to measure all your actions against your own moral code. When you do that, not matter your beliefs, it becomes easier for people to trust you. It becomes possible to find the common ground on which a solid future can be built.

One reason for the current breakdown of American politics is that people are choosing short term brinksmanship (“winning”) over reasoned decision making. Without integrity there is no longer an overlapping common ground upon which to build, there are only the shifting sands of this moment’s sound bite looking to stir support causing more and more people to be wary of the process. New ideas are vanishing.

Whether acting at the federal level, the corner office, your private recreation club, or with your significant other, integrity is essential. Without it your relationships, your organization, or your company are doomed.