Honor is a funny thing. Most people think they have it, however, very few truly do. At one time to be “A Man of Honor” was a way of life. Most people, man or woman, existed where their word was as “good as gold” or, as I like to say, “My handshake is better than any contract.” Folks would have rather died than not be true to their statements. That was evident by the duels that occurred between men just to defend their honor. Being a person of honor was something to hang your hat on. Your integrity was your calling card. So what happened? Where did things go awry?
I don’t know the exact answer, but I think that people have allowed technicalities to sneak into their modes of operation. You know, excuses that have validity on some level, but in the spirit of honor, they are just ways to weasel out of a commitment. I am often disappointed in people because they look for angles or “outs” to renege on their obligations. I am speaking of those times when folks take the “easy out”. I was in a meeting a couple of years ago negotiating a deal with some high-powered and respected businessmen. They wanted me to agree to terms that favored them, didn’t hurt me, but put one of my partners at a disadvantage. Without getting into the details, they basically wanted me to dilute the interest of the other person. Legally and ethically, believe it or not, it was an accepted practice. But it just didn’t feel like the right thing for me to do. I told them I would give up more of my stake as opposed to their plan, but that did not satisfy them. They thought I was nuts; perhaps in this day and age of business dealings, I am.
I didn’t agree to the deal, and lost a significant amount of monetary gain. Maybe I was foolish, and perhaps I made a business blunder by not following the standard practice. But, in my opinion, just because something is “standard” doesn’t mean it’s right. Just because there are technicalities that give you an out, that doesn’t mean you should run for the exits. Saving your own skin has become a dirty practice in our society. Ok, I’m preaching a bit here, but I do so knowing that I’m not perfect and that I have made mistakes. Like most folks, I have not always made the right decisions, and I regret those mistakes. But I do have this going for me: when I say I am going to do something, I do everything in my power to make it happen, even if I have to sacrifice a bit of myself. I don’t intend for this post to be self-serving, although I’m sure some will view it that way; it’s not about me, I’m just the instrument to make this point.
Do what you say you are going to do. Forget about the technicalities. Live your life in such a way that when you get up in the morning and look in the mirror, you feel good about what you see. Remember, you may be able to fool others, but you can’t fool yourself. That’s exactly the point. Honor is not about other people. Honor is about you. It doesn’t matter what others do. It doesn’t matter what they think of you. What matters is how you feel about you. Always remember, your word is your honor. If you live with this in mind, you may not become a billionaire, but I promise you will be happy with yourself.