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Integrity is the Best Policy

A key component of integrity is having the courage of your convictions; doing what you believe is right and not fearing to speak out

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In the operating room of a great hospital a young nurse had her first day of full responsibility. “You’ve removed eleven sponges, Doctor,” she said to the surgeon. “We used twelve.”

“I’ve removed them all,” the doctor declared. “We’ll close the incision now.”

“No,” the nurse objected. “We used twelve.”

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“I’ll take the responsibility,” the surgeon said grimly. “Suture!”

“You can’t do that!” blazed the nurse. “Think of the patient!”

The doctor smiled, lifted his foot, and showed the nurse the twelfth sponge. “You’ll do,” he said. He had been testing her for integrity — and she had it.

A Key Component

This story, related more than 60 years ago by noted editor and author Arthur Gordon, illustrates a key component of integrity: having the courage of your convictions — sticking to your guns, doing what you believe is right, and not fearing to speak out. Such actions are needed today where looking good, showing up well, and garnering favorable press predominate. At the root of our existence is the need for the re-emergence of integrity in the collective character of humankind.

No one lives a life of absolute integrity. Rather, it is an ideal for which to strive. Even those who consistently display integrity can be overwhelmed by what is left over — what wasn’t acted upon and what wasn’t met with integrity.

Integrity is difficult to define. Eleven dictionaries carry eleven different definitions. We know integrity when we see it, but we have trouble explaining it. There is an illusive nature to integrity. It cannot be self-proclaimed, only observed in others. Yet most acts of integrity are performed in private and not subject to public review.

Those who have integrity in large measure have discovered something that the rest of the world must know — that integrity, which many look upon as being comprised of sacrifice, struggle and non-advantageous decision making, actually makes life easier, joyful and powerful.

A Commitment is a Commitment

After the fall youth soccer season, the head coach of the second grade team resigned. To ensure continuity, the assistant coach was asked to take over as head coach for the spring season. He accepted the position.

A month before the season started, the new coach changed jobs. His new job was a high-pressure executive position requiring longer hours and more travel. There would be conflicts between the demands of the new job and the needs of the soccer team. But the new coach stuck to his commitment to the players and their parents.

He was rewarded for toughing it out. The soccer team, playing in a more difficult division, had a good season. But the best part of the story is what happened on the job: he earned a bonus for outstanding performance!

The Truth Prevails

Historian Arnold Toynbee observes that of 21 notable civilizations, 19 perished “not from external conquest but from the evaporation of belief within.” In his address many years ago to the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, Charles H. Brower remarked that “today our country still has a choice. I believe it has always begun to make that choice. I believe it is going back to its old beliefs — such things as ideas, pride, patriotism, loyalty, devotion and even hard work.” Though those words were spoken decades ago, their ring of truth is now being heard.

Curiously, we discount acts of integrity practiced by others, not believing that they can have done what they’ve done simply because they thought it to be right. Paradoxically, we’re quick to condemn others who vividly display a lack of integrity, all the while overlooking or forgetting our own lapses.

Emily Carruthers was a teacher in an elementary school in Spokane. A dispute between the school administration and the teacher’s union surfaced. At a union meeting the teachers discussed striking. After the vote to strike, Carruthers got up and voiced her opinion. She knew her opinion would be unpopular and she knew that she would alienate people because of it. Nevertheless she told the teachers that she would cross the picket line as she deplores strikes.

A Pivotal Concept

Integrity might be the pivotal concept of what it means to be human. It certainly involves fully accepting one’s humanity. Integrity has many synonyms however no single synonym is sufficient; trustworthiness, loyalty, virtue, sincerity, candor, uprightness, honesty. Integrity is also the avoidance of deception and the avoidance of expediency. It is being complete and undivided.

During a bitter cold snap, quick action by concerned neighbors stopped flooding from a burst pipe in an unoccupied house. Early one morning, water was spotted gushing from under the back door of the house. Two neighbors, who had no key, got inside by dismantling a window frame.

They found the entire lower level of the house flooded with two feet of frigid water. The two men ignored the icy geyser spraying from the ruptured pipe and shut off the water line. Using push brooms, they swept the water out the back door. They moved furnishings upstairs to dry out. Then they reassembled the window frame.

Another challenge was notifying the homeowners of the situation. Neighbors knew only that they were visiting relatives in the Miami area. Long distance directory assistance provided a list of a half dozen people with the same Iranian surname. On the second call, the residents were located. Because of the early notification, they were able to expedite the insurance claim. Neighborly resourcefulness and persistence had averted a major household disaster.

A Summation of Decisions

Integrity is an achievement, not a gift. It is not the characteristic that determines decisions. It is the summation of the decisions we’ve made. Integrity communicates to others immediately. It is being the same person to everyone. It’s not noble; it’s not altruistic; it is a practical vehicle for living effectively, for having life work. It is maintaining values steadfastly and focusing on what you believe is right.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Life

New Study Shows THESE People are the Happiest

A discussion about a new study on happiness…

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PolitiCrossing Founder Chris Widener talks with Dr. Steve Turley of Turley Talks to discuss a new study about happiness. Check out their interview and be sure to pick up Chris Widener’s new book they mention, Four Seasons. The purchase of the book gets you 20+ hours of personal develop audios to celebrate the launch of the book. Get Four Seasons by clicking HERE. Check out the discussion below:

Want to influence others like Jesus did? New video series shows you exactly how. Click here for more.

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About Turley Talks:

Are we seeing the revitalization of Christian civilization?

For decades, the world has been dominated by a process known as globalization, a secularizing economic and political system that hollows out and erodes a culture’s traditions, customs, and religions, all the while conditioning populations to rely on the expertise of a tiny class of technocrats for every aspect of their social and economic lives.

Until now.

All over the world, there’s been a massive blowback against the anti-cultural processes of globalization and its secular aristocracy.

And it’s just the beginning.

I believe that the secular world is at its brink, and a new conservative age is rising.

Join me each week as we examine these worldwide trends, discover answers to today’s toughest challenges, and together learn to live in the present in light of even better things to come.

This is Turley Talks.

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Life

The Four Horsemen of Aging Baby Boomers

The prospect of being cold, broke, and alone can haunt some baby boomers in their senior years

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To be old, cold, broke, and alone are the four horsemen of aging baby boomers. Aging has been a fact of life since life itself appeared on the planet, and no one has ever doubted that they would age as time passed. It’s the combination of aging with the prospect of being cold, broke, and alone that’s terrifying for some boomers as they head into their senior years.

Out in the Cold

Miracle breakthroughs in energy production, foreseen in the 1970s and 80s, are clearly not here yet. Despite current price fluctuations, the long-term trend in heating, lighting, and relying upon energy to run one’s home can only point upward for the near future. Prices will be only climb as boomers face the ends of their careers, retirement, and years of living on a fixed income.

Going for Broke

With falling housing prices, fears of a retracted recession, and government debt rising to astronomical heights, the long-term savings of many a boomer has taken a big hit. Boomers close to retiring don’t have sufficient time to recover, and even those who are five, 10, and 15 years from retirement will face rocky roads. The prospects of going broke, or at least having to live out one’s days on far less than anticipated, are real and alarming.

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Home Alone

For several decades, one in two marriages in the U.S. has ended in divorce. This doesn’t mean that one out of two people get divorced, because first-time divorcees are unfortunately prone to being divorced again and perhaps again. In any case, the number of single adults above age 45 is at an all-time high and growing. More people heading into their “golden years” are alone than at any other time in U.S. history.

Finishing one’s life cold, broke, and alone is not a pretty picture. Yet, significant numbers of boomers face this prospect. While individually little can be done about macro-economics, the rising cost of energy, or declines in property and investment values, for aging boomers there are more potential partners today than ever before. Online dating services and a variety of local social groups all but ensure that those who don’t want to face their senior years alone, don’t have to.

Old, cold, broke and alone need not be your fate.

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