Hello, friend. How has it been so far? Have your dreams fallen into place or are you still waiting for your dreams to materialise? Maybe a little more effort and endurance are all you may need for your dreams to become a reality. Wherever you are in the journey of purpose, I am glad you took out the time to click-open this article and am hopeful you will walk away with a life transforming conviction that it pays to be consistent.
Let us ruminate on incidents or encounters that occur in our daily living. Very quickly, try to imagine your last experience with an unreliable local cobbler or tailor who made you miss out on a great opportunity because your shoes or clothes were not fixed or sewed on or before the set a date for your pickup. In the converse, imagine a cobbler or tailor that always keeps to concluding work on your shoes or clothes on time. No matter how gifted or talented the former artisan may be, you may not be inclined to patronise his or services in future as you will perceive him to be grossly unreliable and inconsistent. In a society that places a premium on wealth, it may be tempting to disregard the virtue of consistent honesty. History may not remember every honest man, but history will truncate the accelerated growth of an inconsistent, unpredictable and dishonest person. In an age rife with advance fee fraudsters, hackers and false corporate governance, consistency and reliability are akin to a corporation’s goodwill acquired over decades of untarnished business in the marketplace.
When I was much younger with bursting hormones of puberty, I used to think it was definitive to my identity to exude unpredictable attitudes where I bragged about, “people not knowing me” or “what I am capable of doing” at the slightest provocation. However, unpredictability and inconsistency at that phase of life is often identified as “youthful exuberance” and may be easily forgiven by families and the society because of a youth’s limited responsibilities.
In the capital market and indeed every other overt marketplace, there is no virtue in being unpredictable. That is why unpredictable events always affect the pricing of stocks. A market is not keen on transacting business with unreliable fellows or a corporation constituted by inconsistent persons, as there is sometimes a thin line between inconsistency and fraudulent practices. Furthermore, no law abiding honest citizen would risk recommending or referring an inconsistent or erratic person to another person or organisation. Come to think of it; what do you assume branding is? Other synonyms for “branding” are certainty, identification mark, consistency, predictability, guaranty and familiarity. There is a virtue in a consistent personality. A Jewish Proverb says that “Truth is heavy, so few men carry it.”
One element that consistency communicates is reliability or dependability. Are you a reliable personality? Are you a fellow that society can risk believing in, as against merely hoping that you will abide by your utterances? I once read a story that showed the worth of being dependable. Permit me to share it here. In the 19th Century, a British Parliamentarian travelled to Scotland to deliver a speech. On his way, his carriage got stuck in the mud and left him in a hopeless situation. Then, a young Scottish farm boy appeared with a team of drafted horses and dragged out his carriage. The Parliamentarian insisted on paying the boy for the help rendered, but the boy refused and replied that it had been a privilege to assist such an important personality as the Parliamentarian. The grateful representative then he asked the boy what he would like to become when he grew up. The boy replied that he desired to be a doctor, but he doubted that it would happen since his family didn’t have the money for such an education. The old politician promised this boy that he would help him become a doctor. As years went by the Member of Parliament eventually kept his promise and contributed to training the boy that helped him out when his carriage was stuck in the mud on his trip to Scotland. Fast forward fifty years later, another famous English statesman lay close to death due to pneumonia. The famous statesman was Winston Churchill who had become ill while attending a wartime conference and England desperately needed his leadership as Hitler threatened to destroy the nation. Churchill miraculously recovered because his physician gave him an injection of a new wonder drug called penicillin. Penicillin had recently been discovered by Alexander Fleming, who incidentally was the young boy who had years back pulled the stalled carriage out of the mud on its way to Scotland. And the man inside that carriage who had promised to return the favour by sending him to medical school was Winston Churchill’s father, Sir Randolph Churchill.
Wow! The twist of life!
In an unknown place, to an unknown boy, Sir Randolph Churchill had uttered a commitment to the hearing of just himself, the boy and probably his horses – “I will help you become a doctor.” And the boy staked his destiny on these few lines of words and that was it. And fifty years later, not just did the boy save his son’s life but the entire British kingdom from the evil adventure of Hitler. Just come to think of it again; a little verbal exchange between an elder and a kid belonging to different strata of society sealed the fate of Europe fifty years after.
In the words of Aesop, “a doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one thing or the other, and we then know how to meet him.” Again, I ask: Are you a reliable fellow? Are your promises as potent as a bank draft? Can people hinge their destiny on your promises? At the various corners of life when you make desperate promises with few watching eyes and listening ears do you stay true to it? Being reliable or dependable is one of the virtues of a consistent personality.
To borrow the sermon of Confucius: “Fear not that you are moving slowly; but fear that you are not moving at all!” So, let your creed be – no retreat no surrender, by all means, I must advance the course of my life.
Another virtue that a consistent personality communicates is a lifestyle that is governed by integrity. A lifelong business and multi-billion-dollar investor, Warren Buffet advises thus about integrity, “There are 3 qualities you should look out for in the life of a prospective employee or business partner – skills, energy, and integrity but if the last is not found, then you should as well forget about the initial two.”
Okay, at this point I decided to consult my dictionary for the meaning of integrity, where I found amazing definitions, to wit:
- The quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards.
- The state of being complete or undivided.
Wow! I so love these definitions. I firmly believe that life should be considered a character profession, one where morality and right values are upheld. A matured life should strive to attend a state of indivisibility where your “yeah is yeah” and your “nah is nah.” This state of completeness is defined to a point where your reputation is not distinct from your character; that is the personality known in public is not different from the one known in private. The state of wholeness is where your reputation can walk into a dark room and still recognise your character in there. Integrity is a state where there is potency even in a man’s sigh, and people are confident that they can hinge their destiny to the man’s promises and the same man won’t turn his back on them. Believe me, an integrity oriented personality may not be popular in contemporary society, but such a personality will always be respected for his or her moral standard. Such individual will always leave a trail of legacy. History always acknowledges men of truth.
For this fellow, time always reveals the potency of such character and their traits are often associated with eternity. Schoolbooks teach about them, and adults seek to emulate them. Constitutions are drafted with their timeless wisdom as a core reference. In summary, they belong to the immortality. A life of integrity has enormous influence that doesn’t stem from position or title, but rather from the kind of life they have or are living.
In closing, I quote from a leader who says: “Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions.”
POINT TO RUMINATE ON: ‘Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.’