I learned a very interesting characteristic in those who are the most successful in America. Listening to a Dave Ramsey seminar cd, he shares a story about the gentleman that wrote the book, The Millionaires Mind, Thomas Stanley. After he had written the very successful The Millionaire Next Door, he returned to interview those considered ten-millionaires. These people consistently netted $750K. After the extensive interviews, he compared common characteristics among these highly successful people.
In fact, this characteristic was not only common but was the number one common link between people of major wealth. The humorous side is that the common man, unhappy with his current income, usually pegs them as having acquired their wealth, absolutely without this character. But Stanley points out that not only do they possess it, but they are fanatical about Integrity.
Recently, I’ve heard a speaker share a story about a man who was performing excellently at his job. He was doing so well that the boss was flying down to take him to lunch and to promote him. While at lunch, the businessman seemed to hide a single patty of butter under the bread. The boss noticed the act and watched to see if he would pay for it at the register. When he failed to confess the butter to the restaurant clerk, he did not get the raise or promoted.
His boss was so disturbed by the petty act that he returned to his office and had the person fired.
I watched recently as a new neighbor crossed the street and took a paper from another’s driveway. It may be easy to justify the act since these were free papers given for the purpose of attracting new customers. But the fact remains that he took what was not his. I reflected on the story of the boss who fired a top performer for lacking integrity, and evaluated how I instantly developed a general distrust for this man at the cost of a free newspaper.
I even remembered a scene from the movie Family Man, a sort of remake of It’s a Wonderful Life. The angel is working as a convenience store clerk who intentionally gives a patron, who pays with a one dollar bill, change for a ten dollar bill. The patron knows the change is an error and stalls a bit before leaving. As she leaves the store, the angel comments on how she sold her character for nine dollars.
How fanatically do you guard or protect your character? Or, how easily influenced are you by others who want your integrity to match theirs at a lower level? In light of the recession and the tight job market, are you willing to sell your integrity to either get a job, or to keep your job?
Even the best of intentions, mottos and corporate policies can melt away as financial pressure hits. I have witnessed those who profess the highest of Christian ethics and standards, compromise their values when times got tough. And shortly there after, begin to instruct their employees on dishonest practices, “for the purpose of business.” Some have even proclaimed that Sunday School lessons don’t apply to business.
However, the research shown in Stanley’s book proves just the opposite; that the extremely wealthy are rewarded for their Fanatical Integrity. Some measure their success by their accumulation of wealth, others simply by maintaining their Integrity. As you move forward in your profession, take inventory or your values and guard them at the highest cost.
Ten-Millionaires can’t be wrong! Never argue with success! If you have sold out your integrity, reclaim it and use it as your key on your pathway to success.
With a clear conscience, Ten-Millionaires, Celebrate Success! You can too.
Copyright, 10/31/2010 by JoeElkins.com