We’ve all heard the old saying, “A man is only as good as his word.” That’s not necessarily true, since you could be as good as your money, or your status, or your image or your skill-set. But that is all superficial stuff. Your word is directly linked to your honor and integrity.
Without integrity, you’re not really a man.
Without honor, you’re nobody: Just another human flicking around your society, breaking promises and making grand empty gestures. You’re a liar and a cheat, a small time value sucker of low character, best set to clean toilets, or sell cigarettes in prison.
In the past, I’ve had a few clients and friendly acquaintances show-up for a training session late or not at all, choosing to back out at the last minute. They tell me they have financial problems, or life problems, or whatever blah, blah bullshit they come up with. They can’t tell the truth and say:
“I’m scared, Brett.”
If a student or friend flakes on me, I won’t re-accept him as a student or training partner, not for any money. This is because he has low character, and no matter how hard I work, he will probably blame his failures on me and leave a bad review.
When it comes to fear, there’s nothing dishonorable about saying, “I’m afraid, nerve-racked, and fearful of what’s to come.” But running from fear is shameful, disgraceful…the opposite of honor.
When a man breaks his word, he breaks all credibility with that party.
If you say you will do something, you do it!
If you make a date or schedule a meeting for five o’clock, you get here and meet that time commitment.
If you make a promise, you keep it.
If you start a project, you finish it.
Men of their word are known to be trusted, superior, and reliable. A man who breaks his word is known to be weak, unreliable, and inferior.
All of your actions have consequences.
Being a man of your word will allow you to rise above your station, to achieve great power, and achieve mastery over others and yourself. It will grant you access to powerful people and lift you to the realms of epic greatness.
Not only should a man keep his word to others, but keep his word to himself.
If you make a contract with yourself that you will approach women every day for thirty days, or go to the gym and train and work your ass off five days a week, or write a book, or quit smoking, or finish a large project, and you honor your word—you will achieve personal power, influence, and glory.
If you break your word, you are a not a man—you are a man child, and will be viewed and treated as such.
A man without honor is destined for a life of menial labor, serving the needs of powerful men. You will not keep hot girls in your life, you will be fat, unhealthy, and without an ounce of respect from peers and superiors.
So what’s the solution? It’s simple. Keep your word, or don’t give it.
And if you do break your word, then be accountable, and responsibly correct the issue as best you can.
Ask yourself: How often do you break your word? If it’s often, then I ask you…are you reliable and trustworthy; financially successful and spiritually rich; do you have a great family and happy life; and are you surrounded by loyal friends that will grant you a lifetime of support, constructive criticism, and acts of kindness as they help you on your life path?
If this statement does not apply to you, it’s not too late to change your life. Begin by keeping your word and promises regardless of the circumstances, embrace personal integrity, establish a positive sense of pride, and make this personal attribute your most valuable character trait.
Men of integrity value what is honest, true, noble, trustworthy, kind, and right ahead of personal gain. Once integrated into our foundational operating system, integrity ceases to be optional or “add-on,” but instead becomes a way of life.
Here are some suggestions that will establish a commitment to greatness and help make integrity a foundational value of every man’s life:
1. Root yourself in a moral foundation. It’s been said that everyone has a god; the question is only “What god do we choose?” But many of us fail to even address the issue. Once considered, this question can give us a firm place to anchor.
2. Look for the positive. Load your consciousness in a positive direction by scanning the news for examples of integrity. Then talk about those with friends and family rather than the latest scandal. Make endorsing integrity a stronger value in your life than criticism and scorn.
3. Resist the temptation to compartmentalize your life. Too many of us are different people in different places. Determine to be a man of integrity; then practice at home, at work, at play—wherever you are.
4. Determine to live for others ahead of yourself. The root enemy of integrity is selfishness. The Golden Rule requires treating others the way we would like to be treated. It is impossible to follow the Golden Rule without boosting personal integrity.
5. Participate in an active accountability group. There’s a great story about the great leader Moses, when his friends Aaron and Hur stood with him to hold his arms up high until the battle was won. We all need friends to hold our arms up, to help keep us strong.
6. Partner with a friend where you need to make progress. Take accountability to the next level by asking another man to hold your feet to the fire where necessary. This can be a mutual arrangement. We know a man who asks his friend to call several times a week and ask point-blank if he’s been looking at porn. The promise of a pointed question can help any area of weakness.
7. Be in the habit of sharing everything with your wife. When we don’t keep any secrets from our spouse, it tends to have an impact on who we are.
8. Practice the habit of imagining the presence of someone whose opinion you value. Ask yourself questions like, What if my father was present at this business meeting? I wonder how grandpa would enjoy being part of this experience? Would I tell this joke in the presence of my wife? How would my kids feel if they listened in on this conversation?
9. Hold your children accountable. It’s cliché to say that “to teach is to learn.” But the truth is, every lesson we bring to our children is something we need to hear too.
10. Incorporate a “principle of the week.” Elaborate the teaching equation to highlight a “principle of the week” at home—a week devoted to conversations about honesty; another week highlighting trust; and finally a week where everyone in the family pledges one act of selflessness per day, then shares over dinner.
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