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How to be true to yourself

Photo of me reading a braille magazine

Last week while reading a 1999 issue of Reader’s Digest, I came across an article that renewed my energy to strive for a more meaningful life. The article titled, “How to be true to yourself” contributed by Denis Waitley shows simple steps to leading a life of principle and purpose. The author talks about what he calls The Integrity Triad, the three key principles that can really contribute to the quality of life.

The concept of Integrity Triad is simple. The first principle is about standing firmly for your convictions when you know that you are right. The author states that when you know you are right, you can never back down. He demonstrates this principle through a story of a nurse who was part of a surgery team. She knew that 12 sponges were used but when the doctor removed only 11 of them and was preparing to close the operation, she protested saying that 12 sponges were used and only 11 have been removed. The surgeon finally smiled and took out the 12th sponge from under his foot. That was a good test for the nurse. I fully agree that we must be like that nurse, firm on your convictions when you know you are right. The author suggests that when things get tough, you ought to get tough too and be adult in your responses to life’s challenges. I feel if all of us could follow this principle strictly, the world would be bit different. Frankly speaking, I had hardly realized this before.

The second principle is about giving others credit that is rightfully theirs. I was really impressed when the author notes that we should never be afraid of somebody who might have a better idea than us or who might even be smarter than us. In our present society, we hardly acknowledge whatever support or assistance we receive from others and we often hesitate to give others credit which is rightfully theirs. I know ego is a big factor that prevents us from doing this but I truly support the author’s views that we cannot afford to be so rude and greedy. The author demonstrates this principle through a story of Ogilvy and Mather, one of the largest advertising companies in the world. In the smallest doll the Manager of the company had sent to his newly appointed heads as a gift contained the message: “If we hire people smaller than us, then we will become a company of dwarfs. But if we hire people who are bigger than we are, the Ogilvy and Mather will become a company of giants”. And so did it become eventually. So, we should really learn not to be afraid of people who seem to have better ideas than us or who seem smarter than us. I know the prevailing trend is, when we meet someone who appears smarter, we mostly tend to either ignore the person or try to put the person down thinking he or she is acting too smart. This reveals our ego and I really feel it’s time that we change our attitude now.

The third and the final principle is being honest and being what we really are. Here, the author emphasizes on integrity as one of the most important components of respectful life. I learned that integrity is doing what we do because it’s right and not just fashionable or politically correct. I have realized that honesty and integrity can be powerful tools for building positive relationships with others. The author says that it is integrity that can take us forward in our life without having to check our tracks in a rearview mirror, and I feel it’s very true.

I know many of us already know about these things but we hardly realize until somebody else tells us or we read about them somewhere. This Integrity Triad has really helped me realize how practicing these three key principles can make our life all better and respectable. Among several interesting articles I have read so far, this particular article seemed to have somehow enriched my life.

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2 thoughts on “How to be true to yourself

  1. My friend, this piece of advice is very inspirational and enriching. Keep writing and keeping us on track…..this world is too materialistic today and its very easy to take us off the track of these innate values on life….cheers

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