I have seen so many people without integrity not only in the business world but in life generally. It is my opinion that to be successful in anything in life, Integrity is the single most crucial quality, without which, all else becomes worthless in the long-term. Integrity builds a strong foundation that helps to withstand the storms of temporary challenges and the biggest reward is a sense of peace and happiness as well as long-term financial rewards to those that work for it, at levels far higher than the common practise found in the market today.
I think this topic can become highly philosophical if explored in-depth but my message is to convey some experiences in my own life that can illustrate better in a practical way, the rewards I earned over the past couple of decades.
I am certainly no saint and have many human flaws but I had Integrity very strongly ingrained in my character through being brought up in a strongly religious home where my parents themselves valued integrity very high. I made many sacrifices in my life in order to keep principles intact, keep my word, my loyalty, avoiding dishonesty in business, refusing to resort to underhand tactics for profit even when I was in desperate financial crisis, etc. I simply could not live with myself if I did something that went strongly against my conscience. I went to bed every night of my life with a clear conscience. This by far is a wonderful feeling and, to this day, I can sleep like a baby.
One of my most memorable experiences was during a difficult time in my life when my highly successful business crashed after many years of blood, sweat and tears. It was during the time of the worldwide financial crisis, which in a way was a good time for me to have lost everything. I say that because I at least had something to blame the loss of my entire life’s work and had the example of thousands of other business people who lost far worse than me.
I lost my homes, (luxury) cars, furniture, lifestyle, everything literally. I was suddenly without any income, broke and had to use public transport, which was very demoralizing for me after having enjoyed a 5 star Lifestyle for so long. I went through a difficult time trying to rebuild another business and went through 6 years of poverty. I came across many opportunities to make a quick buck through unscrupulous offers but declined to accept them. I preferred to build my business using clean methods and could not accept living with the knowledge that my wealth was obtained through means that was not acceptable to my conscience.
There were innumerable similar examples in my life and today, my business has grown far bigger than I ever dreamed it could and am in a wonderful position going forward at a phenomenal pace both financially, but more importantly, in my credibility.
The most important point i would like to impress is that above the acceptance by others of our credibility built over time through maintaining a higher standard of integrity, the most important person to be pleased with your life is you. If you can look yourself in the mirror and feel proud of what you are looking at, that is priceless!