“If you want to know how rich you really are, find out what would be left of you tomorrow if you should lose every dollar you own tonight.”
William J.H. Boetcker
A while back I read an article on marriage written by a woman scarred by a number of divorces. Basically, she recommended women should look for three characteristics in a husband.
Integrity, Integrity, and Integrity.
Thomas Stanley author of the well know classic, The Millionaire Next Door also wrote a less well know book on what kind of behaviors were critical in creating self made, first generation millionaires entitled The Millionaire Mind. Honesty was the number one indicator of success in this broad statistical study undertaken by a respected sociologist.
Amy Rees Anderson, a successful entrepreneur and investor advises her readers in an article entitled, “Success will Come and Go But Integrity is Forever” that, “Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be. Building a reputation of integrity takes years, but it takes only a second to lose, so never allow yourself to ever do anything that would damage your integrity.”
Sounds a little like the words Shakespeare put in the mouth of Julius Caesar, "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
Simply put, integrity is complete consistency in your words and your actions; if you espouse a value system; you live by that value system. That is a high standard in a world that frequently seems to reward bad behavior. However, integrity should be your goal in life. Your honor and the love of your friends and family are ultimately what you will carry to the grave. When you fail to live up to your own expectations of decency and morality, don’t excuse yourself. Ask God and/or the person you have wronged for their forgiveness and vow to do better next time. None of us are perfect. Let God sort out the details of justice in the universe. Your job is to concentrate on how you can make this a better world as you make yourself a better person.
Wise employers understand the importance of integrity. Warren Buffet observed, “In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.” Just think how important the integrity of others is in your relationships. Friends, business partners, and even family members who can be trusted to do the right thing on your behalf even when it is not in their best interests are worth more to you than gold.
The price of gold rises and falls over time. Integrity is forever.
Top Ten Indicators of Success From the Millionaire Mind by Thomas Stanley Ph.D.
1. Being honest with all people
2. Being well disciplined
3. Getting along with people
4. Having a supportive spouse
5. Working harder than most people
6. Loving my career/business
7. Having strong leadership qualities
8. Having a very competitive spirit/personality
9. Being very well organized
10. Having an ability to sell my ideas/products