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Integrity isn’t only for when life is easy

Remember that time you lost something and didn’t think anyone would return it… But they did.

And you were so grateful for that.

Perhaps it gave you a bit more faith in humanity?

Be that person the next time you find something that isn’t yours and it’s possible to return it to the rightful owner (or to someone who can).

Because if you do take something that isn’t yours and claim it as your own, what you’re essentially saying is that you’re fine with other people taking your stuff when you misplace it.

Integrity isn’t only for when life is easy. It’s for when life is hard. It’s for when you face temptation or your values are challenged.

“A person’s true nature is revealed at times of the greatest adversity.” — Daisaku Ikeda

Integrity doesn’t take advantage of another person’s misfortune for one’s personal benefit. Integrity lends a hand.

What you do and how you act when you are challenged and put to the test says a lot more about you and your true character than what you say or do when life is easy.

Find something that isn’t yours? Maintain your integrity, show your true character, and do the right thing.

Your decision to think right, choose right, & do right will rarely if ever be the easiest course to follow.” — Thomas S. Monson

Related:

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The courage to do what’s right

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It should go without saying, but if it doesn’t feel like the right thing to do, don’t don’t it.

And if you’ve inadvertently found yourself having done something that doesn’t sit well with you, have the courage to do what you can to make it right.

The world needs more people who do what’s right instead of what’s easy. The world needs more people with integrity.

And it starts with each of us in those moments that matter.

Related:

Clickbait can wait

You vote for what you want to see more of every time you buy, click, comment, share, and tune in.

Make sure your viewing, spending, and browsing habits are an accurate reflection of what truly matters most to you.

Enough with the cheap, the scandalous, and the superficial. Enough with helping mega corporations market products that provide no long-term benefit to anyone but their stockholders. Enough with everything being “this vs. that” and “us vs. them”.

Enough with the non-stop cycle of bad news.

We could all use a little more prosperity. A little more hope. A little more good news.

We owe it to ourselves to spend some time each day looking for the good and highlighting those making a positive difference. We owe it to ourselves to initiate positive change.

We owe it to ourselves to tell the media what we truly want instead of having the media and content providers decide for us.

You can’t be enriched on a diet of bad news and no substance.

Clickbait can wait.

Related:

RE: Clickbait
noun informal
(Mainly on the Internet) content, especially that of a sensational, superficial, or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page which profits from visitors due to advertising.

A phenomenon now spreading to broadcast news headlines.

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We can do better

Liars. Cheaters. Drug addicts. Racists. Homophobes. Wife beaters. The selfish. The narcissistic. The willfully ignorant…

Just because someone is on TV or sells a lot of records doesn’t make them a good role model. And it certainly doesn’t make them “cool”.

Just because someone has a lot of money in their bank account — and is considered “successful” by that standard — doesn’t mean their life is a blue print worth following.

Yes, controversy attracts a crowd, but just because someone has a strong moral compass or leads a life involving little to no controversy doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of attention.

The folks worthy of emulating and drawing attention to are not those who do whatever outrageous things they can to get attention in order to put more money in their bank accounts.

They are those who live modestly and with integrity doing the right thing and whatever needs to be done regardless of who’s watching.

They could be your neighbor, a coworker, the founder of a non-profit. Anyone.

Stop simply accepting the commercially driven role models that are mass marketed to you. You’re playing their game. And they’re winning. Every time we give them attention, we give them free advertising and power. Power that is often abused.

Hold your idols to a higher standard than simply being famous for being famous. Find people worth admiring, whether they are famous or not.

We owe it to ourselves to have truly positive role models, not assclowns on TV and on the covers of the magazines in the magazine rack.

We can do better.

Related:

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From the comments:

Eric: Now what the hell could you possibly have against sleeveless undergarments?!

Zero: “Girlfriend beaters” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…

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“Real men”

I see it frequently on social media…

Real men wear…”
Real men drink [brand]…”
Real men know how to…”
Real men drive [brand]…”
Real men like…”

No.

Real men. Real women. Real people like whatever they want to like and do whatever they want to do. Their preferences are not dictated by fads, popularity, or the social norm. They don’t like things in order to appear more appealing to others.

Real people act with authenticity. And authentic people listen to their inner voice and make their own decisions based on their personal preferences and experience.

So to say “Real men like…” is practically meaningless.

A “real” person is going to maintain their integrity regardless of the influence of outside forces — regardless of your desire that they like whatever it is you think they should like in order to be a “real” person.

To suggest otherwise is to suggest that you judge people based on whether they like or don’t like exactly the same things you do. And if they don’t, they’re not a “real” person.

To be real is to be authentic. To be real is to have a strong sense of self. To be real is to have a positive moral character. And above all, to be real is to have integrity.

Because…

A real person is going to like beer or mixed drinks or not drink at all.
A real person is going to eat meat or not.
A real person is going to like cats or dogs or none of the above.
A real person is going to be religious or not.
A real person is going to like watching sports or root for the same team as you or not.
A real person is going to drive an American made car or a foreign car or none at all.

The thing about “real” people is that you can’t tell them what to be — or who or what to like — and expect them to cater to you simply because you want them to. Real people are going to be real and make their own decisions and do what they want whether you approve of it or not.

Real people don’t exist to confine themselves to other people’s expectations. They’re not content with being labeled. They have no desire to fit within a box. They don’t cave in to peer pressure. And they don’t act with the intention of pleasing everyone.

And this is far more rare than it should be — and should be of far more value and far more desirable than a person who simply likes the exact same things you like, shares your exact point of view, or is easily influenced by the social majority or the flavor of the week.

Consider this the next time someone suggests “Real people…” do or like anything.

Related:

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Wearing a cape is optional

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You don’t need superpowers to stand up for what you know is right, maintain your integrity, or be a source of encouragement.

You don’t need superpowers to take the time to truly listen to people, keep your word, or live with honor.

You don’t need superpowers to lead by example or be the change you’d like to see in the world.

And you don’t need superpowers to see that there’s nothing stopping you from doing any of these things.

Wearing a cape is optional.

Related:

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Distortion (of truth)

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If you lie (or simply present an exaggeration as the “truth”) to make a point or to “win” an argument, it not only invalidates your argument, it destroys your credibility.

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

Related:

How to be a Superhero in Real Life (Part 1)

In this series:

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How to be a Superhero in Real Life (Part 1) by Zero Dean

  • Encourage others
  • Be the change you wish to see
  • Give without expectation
  • Observe without judging
  • Be authentic & genuine
  • Clean up your own messes
  • Be upfront & honest
  • Give thanks & be sincere
  • Be kind
  • Appreciate without comparing
  • Live with intention
  • Take the time to truly listen to people
  • Pursue excellence
  • Strive to add value wherever you may be
  • Smile sincerely & generously
  • Offer to help without waiting to be asked
  • Treat people with respect & dignity
  • Do what you know is right, even when no one is watching
  • Keep your word
  • Live with integrity & honor

Every day.

Related:

We are surrounded

CONTENT ADVISORY: This blog post is a major change-of-pace from my usual fare and also contains strong language. Many people have applauded this post, but you may find it a turn off — and that’s fine.

It is complete bullshit that inauthentic assholes without an ounce of integrity keep rising, while others who try to do right are left to struggle.

I am so tired of seeing douchebags in the news and on the cover of magazines. I am tired of seeing people get famous for being narcissistic assholes.

I am tired of having my privacy violated from all directions as if it is for my own good.

I am tired of seeing the rich get richer and crooks get rewarded with bonuses.

Steal a fountain drink and go to jail. Rob millions of people of billions of dollars and get a bonus at the end of the year.

Get caught smoking crack, even McDonalds would fire you. But if you’re a high-ranking member of the government — where it is your job to be a responsible and trustworthy extension of the voice of the people? No problem. “Everyone makes mistakes.”

I am tired of seeing others get rewarded for cheating the system and playing into people’s fears or making promises they cannot or do not keep.

I am tired of “12 ways to get…”, “3 simple things you can do to…” and “Try this one simple trick…”

This is just manipulative and it’s over-the-top ridiculous.

We are surrounded by bullshit.

Why do we keep buying into it? Why do we keep rewarding the people and companies who do this?

There are so many truly good, truly talented people in the world who are truly worthy of promotion, and yet I need to see the fact that one of my friends “likes” that the (cancer-causing) McRib is back at McDonalds while others promoting health, kindness, love, and integrity starve for exposure?

Fuck.that.shit.

Go seek out someone who hasn’t sold out.
Go seek out someone who appears authentic.
Go seek out someone who doesn’t manipulate people.
Go seek out someone who could use the exposure.

Go HELP THEM. Not the people or companies who sit back and manipulate you and keep getting away with it.

Stop rewarding the people and companies who abuse and take advantage of you.
Stop letting your life be dictated by a box or a product.
Stop letting people convince you that you need things you don’t. That you will be happier with more. You won’t.
Stop wasting your time following someone else’s idea of the ideal life.

Focus on your health and well-being.
Focus on becoming a better person.
Focus on finding ways to make a positive difference in the world.
Focus on finding truly positive role-models and heroes.

You have exactly one life to live to do everything you ever wanted. Stop wasting it caught up in things that don’t matter.

Seriously.

The following comic (XKCD 137) supplements this post nicely:

XKCD 137

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Supplemental Reading:

Marketing and media manipulation

Dear marketers, media, and advertisers –

There is a huge difference between fulfilling people’s actual needs and preying on people’s weaknesses or desires. Marketing doesn’t have to be so manipulative.

Don’t try to sensationalize it. Don’t create conflict where none exists. Don’t promise me miracles. Don’t try to bait and switch me. Don’t feed on my fears. Just provide me with the facts. Let me make up my own mind. Stop all the bullshit.

Want to fill a niche? Want to fulfill people’s needs? The answer is integrity. We need integrity in marketing, the media, and our relationships now more than ever.

Prove to me you’re honest, authentic, and have integrity, and you will have a loyal customer/consumer/friend and someone who will work on your behalf to provide honest word-of-mouth for life.

That is far more valuable in the long run than meeting your short-term & short-sighted goals, monthly quotas, and quarterly reports.

Related:

Marketing and media manipulation

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