Don't Signal That You Are For Sale
The world is full of distractions, it is full of temptations, it is full of opportunities that may not
be right for you or may not be right for
you at that moment. Without the fundamental skill of discipline, it is easy to fall into the trap of giving in to desires or behaviors that are not suited for you. Morality is rooted in discipline. One can argue that the two words are synonymous depending and how they are employed. Without discipline, you cannot have a strong moral character and someone without a strong moral character cannot possibly be disciplined.
It’s been said over and over that life is hard, because it is. And it is human nature to want to take the easy route or make the easy decision. It is hard to say no because it breeds conflict, whether internal or external. And humans largely do not like conflict. Your morality is the cornerstone on which your reputation as a man of honor is built. If people know your morals are negotiable you will never be able to command respect because the man who is not firm to his beliefs does not deserve respect.
Two things happen when you demonstrate to the world that your morals and your beliefs are non-negotiable. Half the world will look at you with silent awe and welcome you into the small circle of men who also are unyielding in maintaining their standards and you will be a living example to those working on becoming better men. The other half of the population lack morality and feel that everyone violates their code and they will test you and tempt you and torment you with false ideas.
Morality goes beyond doing the right thing or choosing the hard right over the easy wrong. Morality is living and cultivating your best self. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your family, you owe it to your creator (whomever or whatever you believe is responsible). It is your responsibility and your duty to live as an example to others. To strive and achieve excellence and do so honestly. Most important, you have the moral obligation to turn around and help the next man in line, mentor them, teach them, hold them accountable to live an honorable and moral life.
Compromising is just a fancy word for surrender. When you compromise your morals you surrender yourself to the ownership of whatever or whomever you bent to. If you are trying to reach a settlement, it has to be in line and according to your standards. This notion is very important when pursuing success because in compromising your morality in pursuit of success you end up losing both. You don’t gain when you compromise, you lose. You accept less than you stand for and what you are worth. You also lose the respect of those who know - you may not even know it - but be assured, you’ve told the world you can be bought.
This isn’t to suggest that you should be unbending and single-minded. Be willing to listen and explore all options. There are things that can be sacrificed that are not as valuable as your morals. Listen and weigh the options, but know why you say yes and no and how each decision reflects your ideals, goals, and values.
If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Don’t compromise on your internal code of ethics, as this will leave you feeling empty and full of regret. Consider it as an infection that once it has inhabited a body it will continue to grow. You’ll have internal monologues like, "I compromised on this, I might as well be OK with that” and “I already compromised on that, might as well go ahead with this.” There is no limiting principle and it will drive you insane with shame and regret.
So, what is morality? There is no need to make this question over complicated. The United States Military Academy of West Point has a great honor code that can some up morality., “I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do “ That’s it, three little things. Of course, you can make it as broad or narrow as you want but it really just boils down to these three little things. you can add tenants of religion, promiscuity, health and fitness, vices, or other factors you personally consider a moral.
But however you craft your code, the message here is to live in accordance with it, honor it, speak it out to the world so everyone knows where your “red-line” is. And when the time comes where you’re tested to violate your code…be the man you are and do not bend and stand strong.