Honesty and Truth

“The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give every man his due.” Justinian I

The philosophy I will follow is to live honestly, to purposely injure no one, and to give every person a chance to do the same.

Any promise I make to someone is a debt which I must pay. If I cannot keep a promise I will try to make up for it. I will not make any promises which I knowingly cannot keep. I will not make a promise that I have no intentions of keeping to get something I want or need, even if the other person is being unfair.

I will be honest even if I am the only one. I will not be dishonest or deceitful even if everyone else is. Regardless of who is telling me to do it, I will not compromise my honesty.

In situations where honesty may hurt someone, I will keep my words to myself. I would rather keep quiet than hurt someone with my honesty. Unless my job is to deceive potential criminals in order to protect others, I will not be dishonest even if ordered to by anyone.

When I tell others exactly what is on my mind, then, I should be able to handle the same from others. If I cannot tolerate frankness from others, then I shouldn’t speak frankly to anyone.

Exaggerating the truth is the same as lying. I will strive to tell things as they are, without stretching the truth or undue exaggeration.

If I don’t know something, I will say that I don’t know, rather than make up a falsehood.

I will present myself to others as I truly am on the inside. I want to be liked for who I really am, not for who I can make others think I am.

For the most part, I will try to live a virtuous life. Once in a while, I may choose vice rather than virtue. If I choose to stray, I will accept the consequences if there are any. I will live with anything I choose to do, be it virtuous or vice, without regret. What is virtuous and what is a vice is for me to decide. Just because something is considered legal does not make it virtuous, just as something illegal may not be a vice. For the most part, my moral compass will guide me. If I am unable to decide and require guidance, then I will seek it from those whom I consider to be virtuous, regardless of what their beliefs are.

The Old Man and the Plumber

The-boiler

“The way to overcome the angry man is with gentleness, the evil man with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth.” Indian proverb

I’ve lived my life by always giving people the benefit of the doubt: treat people with respect, dignity, honesty and trust.

This philosophy has constantly proven how naïve I am. When I was young, one out of twenty people would turn out to be greedy, corrupt, liars, only looking out for their own self-interest.

As time went by, the number who couldn’t be trusted or were simply evil began going up. Regardless of this change, my philosophy remained the same. Sometimes I’d put myself in their shoes in order to understand why they acted the way they did. Why did they feel the need to lie or to get angry when confronted, or to constantly take rather than give, or suddenly become evil when it seemed they were good all along. I’d sympathize with them, get angry, and sometime even bend the truth for them, so that they wouldn’t get hurt or caught.

Being young, I’d let them think they were getting away with something, without anyone being any wiser. I’d let them take more than they should or deserved, feeling they needed it more than I did. As a young man, a little extra work to make up for what they took wasn’t going to kill me. I was young and they were older, so my feelings where they needed the money more than I did and with a little extra work replacing it wouldn’t hurt me.

Now, I am the older man. Things are different. Now, nine out of ten people I come across turn out to be evil, greedy, untrustworthy liars.

My philosophy though hasn’t kept up with the times, and so I continue to treat people with respect, dignity, honesty and trust.

And so, when our boiler broke down a few weeks ago and the plumber sent by the warranty company arrived, I treated him the same way I treat everyone else. Tom was a very nice and polite fellow who was about half my age. I listened in as he told the service company it would be a three hour repair and he would need to return another day since he didn’t have the needed parts.

Rather than doing the three hour repair as he told them, the plumber performed a ten minute temporary fix, using parts he forgot he had in his truck. To me, this was good news all around. I had heat, Tom wouldn’t have to make a second one hour drive to return, and the warranty company saves some money.

Two weeks later the boiler stopped working again. The temporary fix stopped working. To make a long story short, it turned out Tom charged the warranty service company for the full three hour repair and for a second visit to complete the repair. To avoid performing the three hour repair, which the service company already paid him for, Tom claimed tampering caused the second failure, which voids the warranty and gets him off the hook.

Initially I was angry. Tom had robbed me, since now I have to pay another plumber myself to perform the job Tom was already paid for, but never performed.

The shoe is on the other foot now. Tom is the younger, stronger person, who as a plumber with employees working for him, can afford to be honest and trustworthy. I’m the recently laid off older person who can’t afford to be taken anymore.

Despite all that, my anger faded fairly quickly. I suppose I should have learned my lesson, but you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Tom is an evil, greedy, dishonest man who will get what he deserves one day. Life is too short to get angry and to hold grudges. Tom will never be allowed to set foot back into this house.

And so, even though nine out of ten people don’t deserve it, I’ll continue giving people the benefit of the doubt by treating everyone with respect, dignity, honesty and trust.

I’ve reached this age a happy contented man using that philosophy. I’ll continue being happy and stress free because each time another one of those nine crosses my path, I’ll confront the angry man is with gentleness, the evil man with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth. What’s more important than anything else to me, is that I remain part of the one in ten who is gentle, good, generous and honest.

Would you chose experience over integrity when hiring?

“In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” Warren Buffet

Integrity is one the most important character traits in a person. Integrity is how you judge if a person is trustworthy or not. Here are some definitions of integrity:

Merriam-Webster: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility

Oxford Dictionaries: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles

Macmillan: the quality of always behaving according to the moral principles that you believe in, so that people respect and trust you.

Wikipedia:  a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.

When you hire someone with integrity, you are hiring someone who is honest, is moral  and can be trusted to perform the task that they’ve been entrusted with. In essence, you will have someone who will watch your back.

When you combine intelligence and energy with integrity, you have someone you can trust to run your organization for you, someone who doesn’t need to be watched or supervised. Someone who will have your best interest in mind when making decisions, not theirs.

If you only look for intelligence and energy in people, and hire someone without integrity, your troubles have just begun. You will no longer sleep soundly at night. You will have someone very intelligent and full of energy going after their own agenda. Rather than looking out for what’s best for you or your organization, they will be looking out for what’s best for themselves. They will use that intelligence and energy to lie, cheat and steal to get what they what.

A person without integrity will have you believe they have your best interests in mind in order to get what they’re after. Once they get what they want, their true colors will appear. Heaven help you and your organization if you put someone with intelligence and energy but no integrity into a position of power.

You can educate someone to improve their intelligence level. You can motivate someone to give them more energy. Their is absolutely nothing you can do to improve a persons level of integrity. It is a character trait. It is something which defines who a person is. Integrity is developed over time, from childhood until you die. It can change, but usually takes a catastrophic event to cause a person to change.

The path to success and happiness

“Whatever else may be shaken, there are some facts established beyond warring: virtue is better than vice, truth is better than falsehood, kindness than brutality.” Quintin Hogg

The way to prosperity is through many paths. The way to happiness is through many paths. The way to riches and rewards is through uncountable paths. There are some who would have you believe otherwise. They would have you believe that there is only one path to all of these.

For many, the way to prosperity and happiness is through riches and rewards. The way to riches and rewards is through vice, falsehood and brutality. For them, any other way is for the week and ignorant.

There are a few who will never bend, who will always know that success and happiness comes from being virtuous, kind and truthful. For them, there will never be enough riches or rewards that would alter these constants. They may be tempted, and some may even fall under the temptation, but they will all know what is right from wrong. Those who fall will be forever haunted by their conscience.

Those who acquire riches and rewards through vice, falsehood and brutality will never become content or truly happy. No amount of riches and rewards will ever be enough for them. Their misery is that they will always want more.

History has always shown that virtue is better than vice, truth is better than falsehood, and kindness is better than brutality. Men, women and nations who test these premises have always succumbed to their own vices, falsehoods and brutalities.

And yet, more keep thinking the path to prosperity and happiness is through riches and rewards. The way to riches and rewards is through vice, falsehood and brutality.

The true path to riches and rewards is through virtue, truth and kindness. The path to success and happiness is being content with whatever riches and rewards virtue, truth and kindness bestow upon you.

Flags are for people who stand united for the common good of all

“Let the watchwords of all our people be the old familiar watchwords of honesty, decency, fair-dealing, and commonsense…. We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less. The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us.” Teddy Roosevelt

This is a message to every person who lives in a land with a flag. The flag represents unity of all the peoples in that land and the pride each person carries in being part of that land.

What each one of us does is a reflection on that flag. When we act like fools, it is a red mark against the flag we are all so proud of. We must give each person in the land, who proudly calls that flag his own an equal chance, a square deal. We must give everyone  equal opportunity to raise their head high, to proudly call that flag their own. Each person is entitled to be treated the same as everyone else, no more and no less.

A person does not love his flag and country more because he is rich, nor does he love it any less because he is poor. The health of the entire nation depends on us treating everyone the same, giving everyone equal opportunity.

Unless you live on an island which does not have a flag, you have an obligation to treat everyone with honesty, decency, fair-dealing and to act with commonsense. You are entitled to be treated the same way; with honesty, decency and fair dealing. Do not expect more because you run a large corporation and employ thousands, and do not expect less because you are poor and need help to feed and educate your children.

Losing friends due to good intentions

Don’t tell your friends their social faults; they will cure the fault and never forgive you. Logan Pearsall Smith

What this quote means is that it is not always proper to say the exact truth, sometimes it is OK to hold your tongue, or to bend the truth a little. Most of us have come across this situation, where you meant to help a friend by telling them the truth, only to end up losing that friend, or never having the same type of relationship. Sometimes, it’s better to overlook certain faults, rather than risk losing a friend.