The world is filled with people who make lots of money in questionable ways — drug dealers, con artists, dishonest business men, politicians on the take, and so on. If you measure success simply by how much money you make, then you must realize that people who accumulate riches in a dishonest manner lack something that is the true mark of success — character and integrity.
No amount of wealth can compensate for a lack of character. Character equals integrity and integrity means you always do what is right — even when no one is watching you. It means that fear and guilt are all but eliminated from your life because you have nothing to hide and nothing to hold you back from achieving success in the true definition of the word.
In a practical sense, this means you practice the “golden rule” by doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. In your daily life, there are numerous opportunities for you to make this rule a part of your routine. Think about it. Have you ever been tempted to shortcut your way to the top of the corporate ladder? Reaching this goal is a wonderful achievement, but take a look around you. Are the hallways in your office building stacked high with the bodies of people you stepped on in order to get there? If so, be prepared to get stepped on in return.
Do you routinely treat people with honesty and respect? Or do you have a short temper when it comes to dealing with people who refuse to bow down to your every wish and command? The person with character and integrity will never have to worry about this because they know that no one achieves success single-handedly. Whether it’s success in the business world or sports or family life, someone was probably there to offer a helping hand somewhere along the way. The person with character and integrity will know and appreciate this and offer the same helping hand when the opportunity arises.
Celebrated portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh, was famous for photographing celebrities and world leaders. He said, “I have found that great people do have in common an immense belief in themselves and their mission. They also have great determination as well as an ability to work hard. At the crucial moment of decision, they draw upon their accumulated wisdom. Above all, they have integrity.”
It is important that you take a good look at your attitude regarding what success means to you. Albert Einstein said, “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”
Character is what you are. Success is what you achieve. What you achieve can be large or small, but success without character and integrity is merely a shadow. Your character is the key to success and it is the attribute you will pass on to your children. So let your strength of character shine through in all you do and say and you will truly be able to achieve meaningful success in life.