step 17: be dependable and practice loyalty
The old adage, “an ounce of loyalty is worth more than a pound of cleverness,” is universal and eternal. Ability is important but dependability is crucial. If you have someone with all the ability but if he is not dependable, do you want him as part of your team? No, not at all.
I knew you would come – There were two childhood buddies who went through school and college and even joined the army together. War broke out and they were fighting in the same unit. One night they were ambushed. Bullets were flying all over and out of the darkness came a voice, “Harry, please come and help me”. Harry immediately recognized the voice of his childhood buddy, Bill. He asked the captain if he could go. The captain said, “No, I can’t let you go, I am already short-handed and I cannot afford to lose one more person. Besides, the way Bill sounds he is not going to make it”. Harry kept quite. Again the voice came, “Harry, please come and help me”. Harry sat quietly because the captain had refused earlier. Again and again the voice came. Harry couldn’t contain himself any longer and told the captain, “Captain, this is my childhood buddy. I have to go and help.” The captain reluctantly let him go. Harry crawled through the darkness and dragged Bill back into the trench. They found that Bill was dead. Now the captain got angry and shouted at Harry, “Didn’t I tell you he was not going to make it? He is dead, you could have been killed and I could have lost a hand. That was a mistake.” Harry replied, “Captain, I did the right thing. When I reached Bill he was still alive and his last words were “Harry, I knew you would come.”
Good relationships are hard to find and once developed should be nurtured. We are often told: Live your dream. But you cannot live your dream at the expense of others. People who do so are unscrupulous. We need to make personal sacrifices for our family, friends, and those we care about and who depend on us.
step 18: avoid bearing grudges. forgive and forget
Don’t be garbage collector. Have you heard the phrase I can forgive but I can’t forget? When a person refuses to forgive, he is locking doors that some day he might need to open. When we hold grudges and harbor resentment, who are we hurting the most? Ourselves.
Shame on me – While it is not worth holding grudges, it doesn’t make sense to be bitten time and again. It is well said, “You cheat me once, shame on you; you cheat me twice, shame on me.” John Kennedy once said, “Forgive the other person but don’t forget their name.” I am sure that his message was that one should not get cheated twice.
step 19: practice honesty, integrity, and sincerity
Sometimes the brightness of truth does not enlighten but blinds the evil. Be labeled or build a reputation of being trustworthy. If there is one thing that builds any kind of relationship at home, at work, or socially, it is integrity. Not keeping commitments amounts to dishonest behavior.
Honesty inspires openness, reliability, and frankness. It shows respect for one’s self and others. Honesty is in being, not in appearing to be. Lies may have speed but truth has endurance. Integrity is not found in company brochures or titles but in a person’s character. It is worth compromising one’s integrity and taking shortcuts to win? A person may win a trophy but knowing the truth, can never be a happy person. More important than winning a trophy is being a good human being.
A pound of butter – There was a farmer who sold a pound of butter to the baker. One day the baker decided to weigh the butter to see if he was getting a pound and he found that he was not. This angered him and he took the farmer to court. The judge asked the farmer if he was using any measure. The farmer replied, “Your Honor, I am primitive. I don’t have a proper measure, but I do have a scale.” The judge asked, “Then how do you weigh the butter?” The farmer replied “Your Honor, long before the baker started buying butter from me, I have been buying a pound loaf of bread from him. Every day when the baker brings the bread, I put it on the scale and give him the same weight in butter. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the baker.” What is the moral of the story? We get back in life what we give to others.
Honesty and dishonesty become a habit. Some people practice dishonesty and can lie with a straight face. Others lie so much that they don’t even know what the truth is anymore. But who are they deceiving? Themselves – more than anyone else. Honesty can be put across gently. Some people take pride in being brutally honest. It seems they are getting a bigger kick out of the brutality than the honesty. Choice of words and tact are important.
Truth may not always be what you want to hear – One can be truthful without being cruel but that may not always be the case. The most important responsibility of an honest friend is to be truthful. Some people, in order to avoid confronting painful truths, select friends who tell them what they want to hear. They kid themselves despite the fact that deep down they know they are not being truthful. Honest criticism can be painful. If you have many acquaintances and few friends, it is time to step back and explore the depth of your relationships.
A lack of honesty is sometimes labeled as tact, public relations, or politics. But is it really so? The problem with lying is that one has to remember one’s lies. Honesty requires firmness and commitment. How many times have we all been guilty of?
- Little white lies?
- Omitting facts or giving half-truths?
- Telling the greatest lies by remaining silent?
Make yourself an honest man and than you may be sure there is one rascal less in the world.
Credibility – We all know the story of shepherd boy who cried wolf. The boy decided to have some fun at the expense of the villagers. He shouted, “Help, help, the wolf is here.” The villagers heard him and came to his rescue. But when they got there, they saw no wolf and the boy laughed at them. They went away. The next day, the boy played the same trick and the same thing happened.
Then one day, while the boy was taking care of his sheep he actually saw a wolf and shouted for help. The people in the village heard him but this time nobody came to his rescue. They thought it was another trick and didn’t trust him anymore. He lost his sheep to the wolf. What is the moral of the story? The moral of the story is:
- When people tell lies, they lose credibility
- Once they have lost credibility, even when they tell the truth, no one believes them
The quality of good character is honesty – Truth can be misrepresented in two ways:
- Incomplete facts or information
Beware of half-truths or misrepresentation of truths – There was a sailor who worked on the same boat for three years. One night he got drunk. This was the first time it ever happened. The captain recorded it in the log, “The sailor was drunk tonight.” The sailor read it, and he knew this comment would affect his career, so he went to the captain, apologized, and asked the captain to add that it only happened once in three years which was the complete truth. The captain refused and said, “What I have written in the log is the truth.
The next day it was the sailor’s turn to fill in the log. He wrote, “The captain was sober tonight.” The captain read the comment and asked the sailor to change or add to it explaining the complete truth because this implied that the captain was drunk every other night. The sailor told the captain that what he had written in the log was the truth. Both statements were true but they conveyed misleading messages.
Exaggeration – Exaggeration does two things:
- It weakens a person’s case and makes him lose credibility
- It is like an addiction. It becomes a habit. Some people can’t tell the truth without exaggerating
Be sincere – Sincerity is a matter of intent and hard to prove. We can achieve our goals by having a sincere desire to help others.
Stay away from pretense – Asking a friend in trouble, “Is there anything I can do for you,” is really annoying. It is more of an eyewash and pretense. If you really want to help, think of something appropriate to be done and then do it. Many people put on the cloak of sincerity more out of selfishness than substance, hoping that some day they could claim the right to receive help. Stay away from meaningless and phony pleasantries. Caution – Sincerity is no measure of good judgment. Someone could be sincere, yet wrong.
Actions speak louder than words
WHICH LOVED BEST?
“I love you, mother,” said little John; then forgetting his work, his cap went on, and he was off to the garden swing, and left her the water and wood to bring.
“I love you, mother,” said rosy Nell – “I love you better than tongue can tell”; then she teased and pouted full half the day, till her mother rejoiced when she went to play.
“I love you, mother,” said little Fan; “Today I will help you all I can; how glad I am that school doesn’t keep!” so she rocked the babe till it fell asleep.
Then, stepping softly, she fetched the broom, and swept the floor and tidied the room; Busy and happy all day was she, helpful and happy child could be. “I love you, mother,” again they said,
Three little children going to bed; how do you think that mother guessed which of them really loved her best?
Taken of: The book of virtue by Joy Allison
Maintain integrity – Ancient wisdom says, “Anything that is bought or sold has no value unless it contains the secret, priceless ingredient – that, what cannot be traded.” What is it? The secret, priceless ingredient of every product is the credibility, the honor and integrity of the one who makes it. It is not so secret but it is priceless.
Here is another side to integrity – questionable. Three executives were fighting over who would pay the bill for lunch. One said, “I will pay, I can get a tax deduction.” The other said, “Let me have it, I will get reimbursement from my company.” The third said, “Let me pay, because I am filing for bankruptcy next week.”
step 20: practice humility
Confidence without humility is arrogance. Humility is the foundation of all virtues. It is a sign of greatness. Sincere humility attracts but false humility detracts.
Many years ago, a rider came across some soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log without success. The corporal was standing by as the men struggled. The rider asked the corporal why he wasn’t helping. The corporal replied, “I am the corporal; I give orders.” The rider dismounted, went up and stood by the soldiers and as they were lifting the log, he helped them. With his help, the log got moved. The rider quietly mounted his horse and went to the corporal and said, “The next time your men need help, sent for the Commander-in-Chief.” After he left, the corporal and his men found out that the rider was George Washington.
The message is pretty clear. Success and humility go hand in hand. When others blow your horn, the sound goes further. Just think about it? Simplicity and humility are two hallmarks of greatness. Humility does not mean self-demeaning behavior. That would amount to belittling oneself.
A Little Black Pen