INTEGRITY MONTH: DAY 7: “If you want success and longevity for your business, earning a reputation for integrity is crucial. People want to work with people and companies they can trust. Trying to hide a mistake and hope nobody notices or passing the buck does not inspire confidence or respect—from anyone, employees, vendors, or customers alike. Owning up shows integrity and whatever embarrassment you may feel is worth it because in the end people will likely trust you more going forward. It’s not the mistake that is a deal-breaker, it’s being dishonest about it.”― Ziad Abdelnour
This quote is great for a business setting. It is also the same formula for success in the world. There are a great number of business/social environments where conning and manipulation are key to the success of the folks who abide there.
Learning to manipulate others to get what we want is often one of the first skills children will learn. They are taught a rewards-based system that allows them to be reinforced with treats, time, and attention when they do what is desired of them. This can be anything from bathroom behaviors, eating behaviors, to social behaviors. They learn to perform on demand to obtain the reward.
Educational settings use the same system. It is designed to honor those who perform well in that setting and shame those who do not. Along with sports and other arenas where we get some form of reward for doing better than others. Being taught to compete in this fashion reinforces the idea that there are people who are “better than” us in many areas. This system creates many forms of dishonesty in those who cannot compete on the same level with the stars who have mastered the skills being demonstrated. This is where we learn to cheat and lie to compete at their level.
None of this kind of competition is required for us to learn. It does not instill a sense of challenge to those who participate, but a sense of lowered self-worth and self-esteem when they are not given those skills to display.
Each of us does better when the bar of measurement is to excel at what WE do well. To be challenged to increase our skill set within the confines of what we are capable of is a greater way to perform. When we are recognized and rewarded with what we CAN do, rather than compared with those who can do things we are not skilled at, we will become more intrinsically honest with others.
Integrity cannot be asked of those who are fighting to compete for the basic needs of life: time, attention, love, acceptance. Perhaps we need to look at what we reward and how.