To Find Success & Happiness – Check your Premises

A person’s character is a function of their choices and their behavior, which are a function of their beliefs and values. Everything you hold dear will have a profound effect on anything you do, say, and feel. And of course, these are the things that define your character – or lack of it.

What is integrity, and why does it matter?

“Integrity is honesty in action.” – Ayn Rand

While you may not be a fan of the writings of Ayn Rand, this particular insight has deep meaning for all who wish to think of themselves as a “good person”. It flies directly in the face of the old, tired saying, “Do as I say, not as I do,” which is perhaps the most hypocritical cliché ever invented. (It’s right up there with “Because I said so.”)

Some value honesty in speech and can rationalize dishonesty in action. For leaders, justifying their choices in the context of business lies at the heart of self-deception. I witnessed a young entrepreneur explaining to his friends how angry he got when his wife did not appreciate how hard he worked to provide her with a comfortable lifestyle. His older business peer quickly snapped, “Don’t you ever say that you are doing what you are doing for her. You know that’s a lie.” Be mindful of the mental cop-out for the behavior that doesn’t conform to your stated beliefs and values. At a minimum it’s intellectually lazy, and at a maximum it’s ethically delusional. What are your values really? And do you want to do the work it takes to stay at integrity with the ones we are often tempted to abandon?

How We Get Off-TrackPost-Election Blues How to Mourn the Loss

At some level, even under the fog of hubris and adrenaline, we know when we betray our own value system. We get indignant; have water-tight stories that appear noble and irrefutable. Success and happiness cannot coexist when our heart and behavior are at odds. The dissonance keeps us running from one distraction to another, living in the future and with a low-level unease with roots that are hard to trace.

How do stay ahead of your shadow drivers? The unconscious beliefs that cause you to make your success unsustainable? What are your top 5 core values? What is non-negotiable even if it makes you vulnerable and uncompetitive? Mine are compassion, authenticity, low impact living, connections/relationships-first, and staying connected to my true nature. What values conflict with your goals and aspirations? What do you need to do differently to be at integrity with yourself?