How to Create a Life of Integrity

You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one Henry David ThoreauHow to live with integrity; with 4 simple habits

Successful people live with integrity. They say what they do and they do what they say. They are trusted by those whom they interact with and they build healthy relationships with consummate ease. These relationships then help them to achieve bigger and better things.

When you live with integrity, you influence, inspire and motivate others; not just with your words but with your actions too. Others see the positive example that you are and attempt to emulate you. When you choose to live with integrity you will experience a number of benefits, including:

  • You become more valuable both as a person and as an achiever. People see your importance and the value you add.
  • You get better opportunities. You become seen as somebody who gets things done. People are more willing to trust you and want to include you in the bigger projects.
  • As the respect and value you command increases, you are better able to pick and choose the projects you wish to work on.
  • The positive relationships which you build, lead to more people being willing to work with you. This allows you to get more done.
  • You get bigger and better rewards both in terms of personal fulfilment and pay and remuneration

How to live with integrity

The following are 4 of the most critical steps to help you live with integrity. If you turn these 4 steps into daily habits you soon begin to see some of the benefits which I have listed above.

1. Make better choices

You make thousands of decisions every day, some big but many small ones. The bigger decisions often get your full attention, allowing you to make a higher quality of decision. Do the small decisions get your full attention too? Usually not, but when you regularly make the wrong decision, it starts to add up to some big problems.

To ensure that you make better decisions on a daily basis, you need to have a clear vision for your life; a clear sense of purpose, and effective goals which will help you to realise your vision and fulfil your purpose. Life is not a set and forget process; you need to consistently remind yourself of your values, purpose and goals. When you do this, they are at the forefront of your mind, allowing you to make smarter decisions which are consistent with the person that you are and the life which you are trying to create.

 2. Develop positive habits

Many of the bad decisions you make on a daily basis will be down to force of habit. Over the years, you will have done things in a certain way until they have become second nature to you. When the situation arises, you don’t think about it, you just resort to habit. Maybe you are always late for appointments, or you consistently work late. In some cases your bad habits might not appear to be a problem for you, but they are usually a problem for others. If you want to live with integrity, you need to replace the bad habits with positive habits.

To develop positive habits, you first need to identify your bad habits. Take a few moments to list all of the bad habits of which you are aware. I would also suggest asking some trusted friends, or family, to help you identify any bad habits whcih you may have missed. Once you feel you have a completed list, go through each habit and write down the long term effects of sticking with this habit. Then, identify a positive habit which you are going to implement in its place and make a plan for how you are going to implement that new habit.

 3. Keep your agreements

Every day you make agreements, both with yourself and with others. At the time of making agreements, you will generally intend on keeping that agreement but in a busy life that often proves to be easier said than done. It may not seem like a big thing when you fail to keep an agreement but every time you break an agreement, you erode a little of the trust between you and the other person. To live with integrity, requires that you keep your word so that you can build trusting and healthy relationships.

Keeping your agreements requires an effective personal productivity system whereby you capture all of your commitments so that you can then process them and act on them. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when it comes to commitments is relying on your memory to keep track of your agreements. Instead of memory, you need a reliable system to record your commitments and the actions you need to take. That way, you don’t need to remember every single commitment; you just need to remember to check your system on a regular basis.

 4. Raise others up

If you want to build a healthy relationship with another person, the best place to start is by finding some way in which you can help them. It could be something as simple as taking a few minutes to listen to their needs. It seems counterintuitive as you probably focus on what you need to get done. But, when you have helped somebody, they see that you have value to offer and you can be trusted. With one quick action you will have taken giant strides towards creating a healthy, new relationship.

To live with integrity is to live as your best self. Each relationship must be seen as bidirectional. By helping others, you help them to feel good about themselves, and you are also helping yourself by creating a healthy new relationship.

When you live with integrity, you live your best life. You respect yourself by living in a manner which is consistent with your values, purpose and goals. These factors guide each decision that you make, thus allowing you to achieve more. You know that you can never truly succeed on your own so you offer the same level of respect to others. You focus on building healthy, supportive relationships which are based on mutual trust and respect. There will be moments when it seems like living with integrity is the most difficult thing but in reality, when you practice the 4 steps, above, the easiest thing you can do is to live with integrity. You will have a great deal of clarity in your life, allowing you make clear, effective decisions and ensuring the important stuff gets done. When you live with integrity, the benefits and the possibilities are endless.

Today’s article was shared from the following website: https://www.coachingpositiveperformance.com/live-with-integrity-4-simple-habits/

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How to Examine Your Life to Find Meaning

The unexamined life is not worth living Socrates

It is important for us to examine our motivation in our day to day life. – Dalai Lama

What does that mean?
Why do we do the things that we do? What are our motivations? What are the reasons behind our actions? How often do you ask yourself about these things? Can you tell yourself why you just did whatever it was that you did?

While it sounds like I’m talking in circles, can you really explain why you did anything you did yesterday? What were your motivations? When the phone rang, you answered it. Why? Because you’re trained to behave that way? Or because you’re waiting on a call? Were you being polite? Have you ever thought about it?

While a phone call may be a bit on the trivial side, there are plenty of other things we do each day. Why do we do them? What are our reasons? What are our motivations? Do we really want to do these things, and are we doing them for reasons that are proper, given our values and beliefs?

Why is self-examination important?  
You can imagine I believe this to be a very important and worthwhile activity, given the sub-title of this blog. Examination of our life, I would hope, includes an examination of our motivations. We know, again, I hope, what we have done. But do we know why we did it?

Saying that you did it because it is a habit is a useful excuse or reason, however it is not a motivation. Why is it a habit? Why did you start doing it, and why do you still do it? Does it still serve you, or do you have better ways to achieve those ends now?

By examining our lives, by looking into why we do things, we can begin to uncover our motivations. One can do the right thing for the wrong reasons, and be lauded. But is that the way you want to live your life?

By examining yourself and determining your motivations, you can start to change what you don’t like, and put additional emphasis on those things you do like. I believe it’s a worthwhile endeavor, do you?

Where can I apply this in my life?
Let us begin with the chain of events that leads to action. We believe something to be right or wrong. When we see something that matches or violates our beliefs, we are motivated to do something. This leads to action. Or, going backwards, our actions depend on our motivations, which rely on our beliefs or values.

Note that I didn’t list reasons or excuses in there. They usually are walls we erect between motivation and action, designed to prevent anyone from probing any deeper. If someone sees you do something and asks why you did that, do you usually respond with your actual motivation, or do you give a reason or an excuse?

I think that most of us will give a reason or an excuse, rather than get into a discussion of motivations. Why? Because it’s opening a can of worms. One answer leads to two more questions. Pretty soon, they’re asking why you believe something, or have a certain value. Not a conversation most of us are comfortable having, is it?

However, for the purposes of this post, that’s exactly what we have to do. That, in my opinion, is exactly what this quote is all about. Why did you cross the road? Was it to get to the other side? Why was that? Did you have someplace to go, or were you trying to avoid someone who looked scary?

This is something that could take hours, so I would recommend you pick one thing each day to examine. How does one pick an action? If you do something that feels a little weird, something of which you are a little ashamed, or something you feel you might not be doing for the right reasons, that might be something to examine. Anything you think is probably wrong would also be a candidate, right?

How does one do an examination? I would start like I did with the ‘cross the street’ example above. Start asking “Why?” over and over again. Throw in the rest of the questions (The 5 W’s), [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Ws ] and pretty soon you are going to get some answers.

The trick is to keep digging. Don’t stop, especially when you give an excuse or a reason. Those should be red flags to you, telling you to keep digging. Try to find the underlying belief or value that led you to act in the manner you did.

Then you have to figure out if that belief or value is still valid, if it is still true. If it isn’t, it’s time to replace it with something that is true, and better serves you. Something that helps to move you towards the best possible you.

If, at one point in time, you believed the only way you could make friends was to smoke with them, I would ask if that is still true. Can you make friends through any other shared activity? Could you modify that belief to say that you can make friends through any shared activity, and no longer have smoking tied to friendship? Would that make quitting a little easier?

If you don’t examine your life, you will live a random life, like a feather in the wind. Going any way the wind blows. There may be times for that, but I prefer to examine my life, and modify it to suit my purpose. What you do is up to you, but I hope you have a new idea and some new tools to play with.

Today’s article was shared from the following website: https://philosiblog.com/2012/09/16/it-is-important-for-us-to-examine-our-motivation-in-our-day-to-day-life/

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Where the Most Important Things Are…

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart Helen Keller

5 Inspiring Lessons Learned From Helen Keller

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”

1. When Helen Keller was just nineteen months old, she developed an illness that resulted in both blindness and deafness. As Helen grew into a young girl, she and her family became increasingly frustrated with her inability to communicate. She learned to recognize her family members by touching their facial features, their clothing, or by detecting the scent of their perfume. Not knowing what to do, Helen’s parents consulted Alexander Graham Bell, who worked with the deaf. He suggested they hire a young woman by the name of Anne Sullivan as Helen’s teacher and mentor. This decision changed Helen’s life forever.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

2. After establishing what would become a lifelong friendship, Anne began to teach Helen the alphabet by finger spelling the sign language letters into the palm of Helen’s hand. The most challenging lesson was to help Helen make the connection between a word and a concept. The world-changing breakthrough happened when Anne pumped well water into one of Helen’s hands while finger spelling the word water onto her other one. At that moment, Helen understood that a word represented a concept or a thing. Soon, Helen began recognizing the letter combinations and this lit a fire within her soul. From that point on, Anne had helped Helen develop a relentless desire to learn. With Anne’s help Helen soon learned how to read Braille, write, and even started trying to speak. With her newfound love for learning, Helen began to have a strong desire to attend college. Although she experienced many trials and hardships along the way, she didn’t allow her physical challenges to set her back from dreaming big and then acting on those dreams.

“It’s a terrible thing to see and have no vision.”

3. If anyone realized the importance of having a vision for your life, it was Helen Keller. One of her many accomplishments includes being the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Helen did not see her limitations as an excuse not to pursue her dreams. Many people go through their lives with perfect vision, but fail to have a clear vision as to where they want to go and who they want to become. Helen did not let her literal lack of vision stop her from having big dreams. Where many people would have used Helen’s disabilities as a setback and would be focused solely on surviving, Helen was focused on thriving.

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”

4. Helen knew perfectly that without faith she would not have the strength to overcome her hardships. She learned to grapple with trials both big and small and learned the importance of looking forward to the future with faith and optimism. She recognized that without the faith that Anne Sullivan had in her, she would not have been able to become the accomplished person that she was. Similarly, if Helen did not have faith of her own that fueled her to believe in the beauty of her dreams, then she would have continued to live in darkness. She was diligent in sharing this faith with the world because she desperately wanted others to walk in the light she walked in as well.

“What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.”

5. Many people spend their entire lives chasing the next “big thing” thinking that some thing or person out there is going to make them happy and bring them fulfillment. Helen recognized early on that happiness was not found, but rather created. Happiness and confidence were attributes she championed from within, not things she would magically find one day if she searched long and hard enough. She was an author, speaker, and activist with a spirit of determination that served as an advocate for people with disabilities for generations to come. Helen triumphed over adversity and dedicated her life to helping others. Her legacy and beautiful spirit will never be forgotten.

Today’s article was written by Audrey Denison and is shared from the following website: http://faithcounts.com/5-inspiring-lessons-learned-helen-keller/

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Every Morning We Are Born to a New Beginning

Each morning we are born again What we do today is what matters most Buddha

To many, especially those advanced in age, starting over is a scary proposition. To some, this forecasted mountain of challenges proves to be too crippling to attempt. And they wither under the weight of change. In this piece, I offer a story of my mom’s tumultuous journey and the many start-overs she endured to show that it’s not too late to begin anew.

My Family’s Story Is Proof: You’re Never Too Old to Start Over Again

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

– John F. Kennedy

I waved goodbye to the sleepy neighborhood. It was 4am and not a soul was stirring except for the five of us and the bus driver. It would be our last day in Vietnam.

I don’t know if I could describe what I was feeling at that point. Fear, excitement, and a slew of other emotions — but mostly, I was numb. As we rounded the corner, I shed a tear watching the house I grew up in fade out of view.

But whatever emotional rollercoaster I was on during those first few transitional days from Vietnam to America could never compare to what my parents must have been experiencing. I was young enough that the effects of this new beginning didn’t debilitate me. I could make new friends quicker, learn the language easier, and assimilate to life in America faster. Starting over wasn’t as significant a barrier to me as it was to them.

My parents were in their late forties; their road to societal integration wasn’t as smooth. They struggled. Yet, somehow they managed to rise above the rubble and became contributing members of society within months. Perhaps, they were forced to do so. Fight or flight, you know? And they fought. But, I think a major factor for this quick turnaround had to do with their positive mindset toward change. “It’s never too late to start over,” they would tell me.

And started over they did, for the umpteenth time.

To fully illustrate this point, I will give a brief summary of my mom’s many start-overs in her life and how she never shied away from them.

From the change you never choose

When she was very young, her family moved from the countryside of North Vietnam to the cosmopolitan South. Back in the sixties, North and South Vietnam were as different as night and day. She quickly assimilated to life in South Vietnam and soon became a top student in school.

Then, just as becoming a judge came within reach, the ravages of the Vietnam War caught up with her. South Vietnam fell. Leaving everything behind, she and her new husband fled the city to go into hiding — my father was a ranking officer for the Southern Army at the time, and his life was in imminent danger.

He was captured soon after and sent to “re-education” camps for six years. And just like that, my mom was reduced from a position of honor to one of a countryside daughter-in-law, farming the fields as a quasi-peasant. Even then, she thrived in that environment. Being one of a few educated people in the area, she became a teacher and a respected member of the community.

Through twists and turns

Some years later, on my second birthday, my grandfather from my mom’s side visited us, and appalled by what he saw, plucked us from the farms and brought us back to the city. By then my mom had fully embraced the rural life.

She started over again.

The former Soviet Union and Vietnam were relatively close allies back then. There were a lot of Russian military personnel in the South — and their wives. My mother soon became a somewhat famous seamstress for these Russian women. But just as soon as life stabilized, we got the call from the U.S. embassy: “You’re going to America.”

To a(nother) new beginning in America

In the US, she went back to school at the ripe young age of fifty, received an associate’s degree and soon became an admired team member for a Fortune 500 company. Yet just as soon as life stabilized and the joy of homeownership was upon her, the housing bubble popped. She lost the house she so proudly and deservedly earned.

She was shipped off to Oregon to start over with a different division in the company. By then I, the youngest of three kids, had graduated college and started to earn a good living. To her, her “job” was done, and she retired. And I suppose retirement could be considered “starting over” as well.

Triumphing through change

All said and done, my mom’s life is comprised of many abrupt changes, but through them all, she triumphed. She triumphed because she didn’t let the emotional weight and strain of starting over erect an impenetrable wall before her. She embraced each change, and in doing so, found ways to overcome these hurdles.

Now, when faced with the possibility of starting over, I channel my mom’s fighting spirit to move steadfast toward the future.

So what I’m trying to say is… it’s not too late. You’re not too old to embark on a new journey. The obstacles you see are indeed tangible, but they’re not insurmountable. You might not have that pep in your step anymore, but as long as one foot can go in front of the other, strive forward! My mom’s journey is a testament of that.

Today’s inspiring story was written by Hung Thai and was shared from the following website: https://www.goalcast.com/2017/08/07/my-familys-story-is-proof-youre-never-too-old-to-start-over-again/

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Today Can Be Our Best Day Ever!

In Today’s rush, we all think too much - seek too much - want too much - and forget about the joy of just being Eckhart Tolle

It’s All in the State of Your Mind

I’ve never talked about this before. Doing so now is a result of my sister
Lorraine reminding of these events that happened over 50 years ago.

While running high school track during my sophomore year in the spring of
1955, I pulled up with a pulled hip muscle. The coach said to take it easy, but
before long, I could not stand on the right leg. The pain was unbearable.
Down to the ground I went, and the EMTs were called, and a trip to the
hospital was in order. The x-ray showed a fracture of the pelvic bone caused
by (of all things) the musculature being so tight or strong that the muscles
splintered a part of the hip bone.

The prescribed treatment by our family doctor was to lie on my back with a board
between the mattress and box spring for a month. No cast or brace was needed;
just lie flat and do not move.

When I inquired as to when I would be able to run again, the doctor said I may
not be able to run again.  With my muscular and skeletal configuration as it
was in the hip, running track again could be out of the question.

Needless to say, I was stunned by the doctor’s statement, but decided that was
not going to happen.

Fast-forward to the fall six months later.  It was September, and I had worked my way to the starting halfback position for the high school football team and was ready to run the first play in the first game of the season. My number was called, and 65 yards later, standing in the end zone, I felt that I could put that never-running-again theory to rest. I was fortunate to score 12 TDs and average over 100 yards a game–all in a seven-game schedule!

Again, fast-forward to age 70, almost three years ago.  Standing on our SUV
bumper attempting to throw a piece of luggage up onto the luggage rack, I
slipped and fell and broke my hip once again. Another ride to the hospital, three
screws in the hip, and a long recovery regimen.

While in the hospital after surgery, my son-in-law Kyle Horga challenged me
to be well enough in six months to walk in the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon, a
distance of 13.1 miles, which at that time seemed as far away as the moon to
me.

However, five months later I walked the half marathon in Myrtle Beach and have
walked two additional walks since and plan to do two more this year.

When you reach my age, you will reach the concrete conclusion that human
achievement is based solely on the proper state of your mind.

Today’s article was written by Jack Bottinger and is shared from the following website: http://inspire21.com/stories/truthstories/Itsallinthestateofyourmind

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