Begin With The End In Mind.  Be Integrity.  Be Faith. 

This will be my final part of my series “Begin With The End In Mind.”

“Head on out and tell us how it goes Paul!”  Wrote with a sarcastic tone from a “friend.” 

Loved it! 

When I read that statement, I said, “Well, he is correct!  I am going to head on out and tell y’all how it goes.”  Knowing that when I went outside, I very well could get COVID-19 and die.  Again, to remind you:  I am 54 years-old; 252 pounds; 5’10”; asthmatic; high blood pressure (152 / 88);  high cholesterol.  So, if I am going to die because I took walks without wearing a mask and I went into stores without a mask, I am gonna tell y’all about it.  “It” refers to what I thought about as I was walking.  What I want to share with my grandchildren and students… and reminders for my family.  My legacy, if you will. 

In the book Seven Habits For Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, his Habit Two fires me up.  Habit Two – Begin With The End In Mind.  He literally means the “end.”  Dr. Covey takes the reader through an exercise about being at your funeral.  You have three folks to eulogize you.  What do you WANT them to say? Not what they would say.

I love that habit because it is my “north.”  I want folks to say, “Great Husband.”  “Great Father.”  “Great Teacher.”  Just to name a few… several.  For all those things to be said, I must do actions that meet those wonderful comments.   

If I get a temptation to do something wrong, I think, “Do I want this temptation to be eulogized about me?  Do I want my students to say I was an alcoholic? Poor role model?  Liar?”  Not that I have never done anything bad.  Actually, I have done a lot of bad.  But what I do is what I think a typical American (remember, I see this through my fifty-four year-old eyes) does – admit it / fix it.  There are many examples in our nation where we, as a nation, fixed a wrong.  We got better!  Not a lot of nations can say that. 

Be Integrity.  Be Faith.

I am going to focus on integrity.   Out of respect to my atheist & non-Christian friends, I will focus on integrity.  Jesus Christ is my CENTER.  My faith.  Yet, I also recognize HE is not the center of everyone.  I do encourage folks to study Jesus Christ.  He is definitely a wonderful leader.  Okay… we go to INTEGRITY. 

Love to start with the definition of the word we are working on…

Integrity: 

  • Noun
  • 1). The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; more uprightness.        
  • 2). The state of being whole and undivided. 

One of my favorite words:  integrity. 

Another way to look at the word integrity is the root for integrity is “integer.”  And, what is an “integer?”  Answer:  A WHOLE NUMBER. 

So, when my words and actions are in alignment, I feel incredible.  I feel so powerful.  Clean.  I demonstrate my integrity.  When my words and actions are not in alignment, I feel so bad.  Terrible.  Sick.  And again, yes… I have moments where my integrity is less than desirable.  I make mistakes. 

Some quotes about “integrity” –

  • Integrity – the choice between what’s convenient and what’s right.  – Tony Dungy
  • Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.
    – C.S. Lewis
  • Integrity is choosing your actions based on values rather than personal gain.
  • Integrity gives you real freedom because you have nothing to fear since you have nothing to hide – Zig Ziglar

As I have written this series on Begin With The End In Mind, I have evolved.  I look at this as really working.  Here is “the” question, “can you imagine a “good” life with not having a sense of integrity?”  I hope the answer is a loud / strong “NO!”  Constantly hiding your lies and feeling good? Constantly disappointing people because you lie and feeling good?  Lie to yourself.  Lie to others.  And, again, I HAVE LIED.  I LIE.  I WILL LIE.  Why, Paul?  I mean you give all this “higher-than-thou” stuff. 

Well, I tell you all this “higher-than-thou” stuff because I am battling it every day.  I accept that I am doing the best I can.  I decline the, “I will be the best.”  Or “I am not going to make a mistake ever again.”  I took the time to share this with you because, I want you to join me in being better today than you were yesterday.  Not being better than me or me being better than you. 

Good questions:

  • Can you imagine a good and enjoyable life without living with respect? 
  • Can you imagine a good and enjoyable life without being responsible / having responsibility?
  • Can you imagine a good and enjoyable life without discipline? 
  • Can you imagine a good and enjoyable life without have a sense of integrity?  Faith? 

The “E – Triangle” 

On left side of the triangle – out of RESPECT for yourself and
for those closest to you 

On the right side of the triangle, you will accept 100% responsibility
for all you do – ALL YOU DO –

The foundation of that triangle, that will take DISCIPLINE for you to do respectful things / accept 100% responsibility for all you do. 

In the center of the triangle,
all you do should be is … the state of being whole and undivided. 

There are 365 days of the year.  I am going to tell you, I have faith in you that you are going to have at least 80% of those 365 days be filled with a sense of love / grace / connecting with others / full of encouragement to you and you giving encouragement to others.  I also have confidence that 72 days will be filled with some level of misery.  Period.  Sure.  All the gurus are going to say, “there are thorns with the roses.  Look for the roses.”  Sure.  Nice. Cute!    

What I am saying is BETTER!  You will / you can have 293 days of “good” and ONLY 72 days of “evil.” Look at that.  Get some stoicism, folks.  That is WONDERFUL.  293 days of “good” and ONLY 72 days of “evil.” 

I am writing this on June 4, 2020 at 11:35am PST… Even with COVID-19 / the protests / the riots, we will have more “good” days, than “evil” days.  I could be wrong, but I am going to have FAITH.  It’s gonna be close call (better days than not).  “Lock down” started March 14 and we are still experiencing the protests and rioting.  Therefore, we are at day 82 of “evil.”  Frankly, not all 82 of those days have been “evil.”  Protests are not evil.  PROTESTS ARE NOT EVIL.  Yet, losing jobs; businesses being destroyed; schools closed; looting; the death of George Floyd; the deaths at the riots – yes, that is EVIL.  There could even be more evils you would add…

AGAIN, PROTESTS ARE NOT EVIL.  PROTESTS ARE NOT EVIL. 

When you have an “evil” day, you just gotta say, “that was one of the 72 days Paul was talking about.”  Yup.  So, you can avoid making the same mistakes the next day, learn all you can from the crappiness that happened the previous day.  At the end of the day, it will be great to say, “Today was better than yesterday.” That needs to be our simple thinking / simple goal: 

Today was better than yesterday. 

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