My wife and I sometimes put a word on the blackboard in our kitchen and call it the word of the month. We have had words like abundance, gratitude, communication; words that express our aspirations. Then one month we chose INTEGRITY and Whew! It became a very interesting month. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say that lots of interesting puzzles and challenges came up for us to solve as we kept that word in focus.
I like to think of myself as someone who has integrity. I strive to do what I say I am going to do. I treat people honestly and fairly; the way I want to be treated. This doesn’t mean I don’t have flare-ups of anger on the freeway and want to yell at people or that I don’t ever get snarky during a bad interaction with a service person. Yes, those are shortcomings and places where I don’t act within my own integrity. But what I’m talking about here is more than that ~ because integrity is a much bigger conversation than that.
A Google search gives us two definitions of Integrity to ponder:
- The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, etc.
- The state of being whole and undivided.
The first definition falls short for me because it focuses on moral principles which I believe are different for different people AND because there is a ring of righteousness about it. Instead, I like to reflect on the second one. I like working with the idea of the state of being whole and complete. The word “complete” gives an entirely different level of meaning to me. So, definition #2 is the one that stirred up stuff around our house that month.
Take a minute and say those words: “the state of being whole and complete”.
What does that bring up for you? Are you saving enough? Are you getting enough exercise? Are you eating the right food? Oh, and it gets worse. Try dwelling on this for a month and it evolves into things like, am I in the right career? Should I have become a dancer? A race car driver? Dedicated my life to public service? Am I doing enough? I’m getting a little off track here but I’m going to suggest that we came into this world whole and complete. Then we drift away from that wholeness. Just a little drift here and there and the next thing you know we are in relationships that don’t fulfill us or at jobs that we don’t enjoy. I’m not saying I did any of those things, but you can use them as examples.
How can you apply this? What difference does it make? A wise friend of mine once shared with me an aphorism: “the source of all suffering is out integrity.” This has stuck with me for over 30 years. My initial reaction was to try to find ways that the statement was wrong, find places where suffering existed that had nothing to do with integrity. However, this is not as good of an exercise as asking yourself, “Where am I suffering?”, and then looking to see what is out of integrity in that place for you. Ok, suffering may be too strong a word. Use your words here…. Where am I not happy with the results in my life and what is “out”? I use that word in a weird way here to beg the question, Where am I not living up to my values, what is important to me, the beliefs I hold dear? And what can I do about it right now?
I am going to leave it here as this is the place where I usually go off on some tangent about how I think you can live a better life AND I assert you and only you know how to live a better life. 😊
There is lots out there about Integrity and if you are interested, I encourage you to explore. But be careful, much of what is out there will be definition #1 stuff and I think you want the definition #2 stuff. Check out Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman in the resources below. It’s filled with insights on living. And, honestly, I have searched but cannot find the source of my friend’s quote. Initially I thought it was directly from Millman. Then I wondered whether it was a gem from Lynne Twist (the author of The Soul of Money and a co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance). Either way, I have puzzled over this for years because I keep trying to prove it wrong and I can’t. It may promote a discussion which I think is the point.
We just finished our Q3 reviews with most of you and had some good conversations.
If you missed out on that or just want to connect, find a time that works for you here : https://calendly.com/david-hicok/investment-review-call
or here : https://calendly.com/david-hicok/investment-review-zoom
I promise I’ll listen more than I’ll talk.
If you don’t already have a plan with our firm, and you’d like to work with someone on your financial future (including investment strategy, debt management, retirement, your family’s legacy, and insurance), don’t hesitate to reach out for a complimentary Financial Freedom Review.
See you next month…!