Through our own behaviors, do we live a life demonstrating that what we stand for and believe in we actually exemplify on a daily basis; or do we wake up every morning just attempting to prove to the world how wonderful we are, regardless of what behaviors might be needed to accomplish that? If what we are attempting to prove is not a reflection of who we truly are, is there any way we could be happy? The answer is no, because we are in conflict with ourselves.
Do you believe there is a direct correlation between money, things and genuine happiness? If you believe there is, than I can conclude that the more money and things an individual possesses, the happier and more fulfilled they would be. Correct? Why is it then, that many people who have so many things, are absolutely miserable? Contrastingly, why are there many people with limited material possessions, and yet, are very happy and content with their lives? The reason is “things” do not define who we are, rather our “behaviors” do. If the acquiring of things is used as a substitute, for being accountable for our behaviors, then we are being dishonest with ourselves. Therefore, neither what we own, nor the power we gain, will ever fill that void in personal honesty. As a result, we may have things, but are we happy?
I do believe material things can provide pleasure, but are not the roots to long-term contentment. I enjoy nice things, and I feel fortunate that I have been able to create a level of comfort for my family and myself. However, I will share with all of you that what I wear, what I drive, and how big a house I live in does not, by itself, define the true character of who I am as a professional, a husband and a father. How I treat my own family, how I treat my clients, how kind and respectful I am to others, how well I conduct my business, and how accurately I practice the message I share, will ultimately define whether I was a person of personal honesty. Personally, I have made mistakes, and I am sure mistakes will happen again, but to repeat a pattern of behavior that sabotages my own sense of self, and those close to me, is inexcusable. Personal honesty stems from living a life that is a true reflection of who we are, and it complementing what we professionally represent to those around us.
How many leaders in government, Hollywood, professional athletics, corporations, religious institutions, and many other professions disappointed and/or destroyed their family, friends, and followers with personal dishonesty? In the recent aftermath of the former Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer’s debacle, it once again put the spotlight on failures in leadership, and has created yet another uphill battle for honest people in positions of leadership to solidify trust by those who admire, look up to, and respect them. What message do we send our children in regard to personal responsibility, accountability, integrity and character when pundits make excuses for the personal irresponsibility’s of those in famous positions? The message sent is one that creates distrust towards others, and in the minds of many that “character, integrity, accountability, the sum of which equals personal honesty, is irrelevant in regard to personal and professional achievement.
Why would any leader with significant influence and power disintegrate the very core values that they are attempting, or projecting, to espouse to? It is called egoism, narcissism, and behaving in an egocentric manner. By definition, Egoism is “The quality of thinking or acting with only oneself and one’s own interests in mind; preoccupation with one’s own welfare and advancement.” Narcissism is defined as “Excessive admiration of oneself.” Egocentric is defined, as “Thinking or acting with the view that one’s self is the center, object, and norm of all experience.” “Individualistic, selfish.” These three destructive traits have historically destroyed individuals, families, careers, communities, governments, empires, and have even extended to the destruction of entire societies.
I can honestly share that my life changed when I discovered the more I think of others the happier I tend to be, and to realize that it is not about me, but my service to those around me. I have learned it is so vitally important to do everything I can to ensure that the way I want the world to be, and the way I want the world to view me as being, is a true reflection of who I am. Displaying personal honesty during the course of our life is a rewarding challenge for anyone reading this blog.