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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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Family

I’ll Be Home for Thanksgiving

Where we are born, where we are raised, and where we return for Thanksgiving is based on a long-term chain of events that vastly predates our birth

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Years ago, when my mother was still alive and I routinely flew up to Connecticut from Washington DC for Thanksgiving, I had a profound realization during one of my flights. My father had passed away years ago, but my mother carried on the tradition of having the kids assemble at her house for turkey and all the fixings.

My plane ride that morning was actually on Thanksgiving Day, which stood out when I made the reservation as the best and least expensive flight. Surprisingly the cabin was not crowded, I guess because nearly everyone else who travels for the holiday departs a day or two before Thanksgiving. In any case, departing the ‘morning of’ can be a welcome change.

Ruminating in the Clouds

During the flight I became pensive. “I’m flying back to Hartford, Connecticut. Why?” Because that is where my parents settled, after a courtship that started when they first met in New London years back. My mother was from Springfield, Massachusetts and my father was from Hartford, Connecticut. As a family, after living in Hartford for a few years, we moved to Bloomfield, Connecticut.

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On Thanksgiving, among others times, I would land at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, be greeted by my mother, and then make the drive 15 to 18 minutes back to Bloomfield.

What if, I surmised, after meeting in New London, Connecticut my parents settled in, say, Providence, Rhode Island, or Cincinnati, Ohio? What if I’d been born to other parents? (Yes, I understand the intricacies of following that line of thinking.) What if my family was from Decatur, Illinois, or Paducah, Kentucky, or any one of 100s of other places? If so, on this particular morning, I’d be flying to one of those locations. That got me to thinking about the fragility and randomness of life.

A Chain of Events

To whom we are born, where we are born, where we are raised, and where we return for Thanksgiving is based on a long-term chain of events that predates our birth not just by years or decades, but by centuries and more. I was thankful to be flying back to Connecticut to see my mother, brother, and sister and at the same time realized that everyone on the flight, more or less, shared fairly similar circumstances.

We were all flying to Bradley International Airport, but for a quirk of fate, or happenstance, any of us could’ve been flying to Altoona, or Annapolis, or Austin.

Unlike most flights that I take, on that particular journey, at that time in the morning, I felt a kinship with everyone on board. I was thankful for my life, thankful for my family, and thankful for the opportunity and ability to travel to where I choose. What an experience, what a world, what an existence.

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Elections

Living in the USSA, United Socialist States of America

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Living in the USSA toady is not that different than living in Soviet Russia during part of the last century. Technology and terms may have changed but the results are the same. We have been reduced to a bleak existence controlled by faceless and nameless unelected bureaucrats. We move from our thankless jobs to our regulated hovels always trying to get one step ahead of our bills. Our elected officials, not affected by the decisions they hand down don’t seem to care about the people they claim to represent.

We can look at different slices of life in the USSA and compare them to life under socialist and communist regimes. These changes have been years in the making and have collimated in our life as we know it.

Media: There was a time when Pravda was derided and laughed at for misleading the people of Russia. Today we have MSNBC, CNN, CBS, New York Times and almost all news media seems to be arms of the democrat party. Sometimes their reporting is word for word from press releases issued from the White House. Even Hollywood and social media have jumped on the band wagon. Name one movie today that doesn’t preach some woke political message or show a world that only exists in a socialist fantasy world. Social media when it was found to bind citizens together has been purged of any original thought.

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Small Business: The only small businesses to thrive under communist and socialist rule are those of the underground economy. Under communism all business are owned by the state, under socialism they are regulated to the extent the owners are just figureheads. Opening your own business to be your own boss or the master of your own fate is an outdated concept in the USSA. Today after you apply for your permits and licenses you are told what you can sell, who you can hire, how much you must pay, where you can sell and make sure to collect the vig for the government if you are successful. It’s the main reason legal pot sales in California have not driven out the illegal sales. (Illegal sales)

Private property: Think you own your home after you satisfy your mortgage? Try not paying your property taxes. We don’t even get a say on how that money is spent or we are labeled domestic terrorists. To support the education cabal we pay more today in taxes than our parents paid in mortgage. Don’t forget all the rules and regulations that have been imposed. Want to make any changes? Make sure to contact the local bureaucrat for permission. Live near a designated wetland or home to an endangered rat species, forget about it.

Freedom of Speech: You are free to say what you want as long as you don’t use certain words that your race is not permitted to. Feel free to express yourself as long as you don’t offend any one of the 4 hundred million persons living in the United States. It’s even worse if you are not part of the protected class. Things uttered 10 or 20 years ago can still be held against you. You won’t be sent to the gulag but you will end up in the poor house if they still existed.

Medical: Ever since Obamacare moved medical records to on line, nothing is private. We can see how this has been weaponized with the push for vaccines. If you tell your Doctor you refuse to get the vaccine for whatever reason there is a special code for you. If your doctor inquiries about a firearm in the home another special code. Codes for your race, sex, and orientation. Any doctor or nurse that dares to contradict the vaccine narrative will be punished. Try to get a medical exemption for the clot shot these days and see how it goes.

Our representatives: In Soviet Russia the leaders have the best of everything including apartments, food, transportation and even summer dacha’s to remove themselves from the urban blight. Here in the USA we have an abundance of homeless, and college graduates living with mom and dad since the median home price has reached $375,000. But as a public “servant” you can purchase a modest million dollar get away from your constituents.  The Obama’s who claimed to be broke at the 2004 democrat convention. Today he lives in a 15 million dollar beach front, primarily white Martha’s Vineyard. Nancy Pelosi considering retirement does not want to live in the state she represented for 34 years. Nope, too many taxes and regulations and illegals. She picked up a little summer cottage for a mere $25 million in the trendy exclusive Jupiter Island. Our current world punch line of a president Biden has amassed quite a portfolio of real-estate in his home state of Delaware.

So here we are. Our rights have been slowly chipped away until the Wuhan flu was the opportunity to see how far we would be pushed. Elections used to have consequences but now our representatives no longer fear the ballot box. They have that covered. Our representatives no longer represent us but themselves and their friends and donors. They think they are our leaders. The department of Justice is now no longer protecting the nation but only those in charge. If it wasn’t for the second amendment they would be putting all their political opponents in gulags and smile while they did it. It has affected each and every one of us. We are becoming what we used to laugh at. There is an old Russian joke about  A man waits in line at the butcher shop, when he gets to the counter he inquires if they are out of fish. The proprietor informs him he is in the wrong place, across the street is the store that is out of fish.

The goal of socialism is communism.

 

Vladimir Lenin

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