Integrity is a powerful word that derives from a specific concept. It describes a person who is integrated, blended into a while, as opposed to a person of many parts, many faces, many disconnects. The word relates to the ancient’s distinction between living and living well. Contrary to popular thought, a person of integrity is typically easy going with a sense of humor. He knows himself, reflects a definite and thoughtful set of preferences and aspirations, and thus is reliable. Knowing he is whole, he is not preoccupied with riding the crest of continual anxiety but is free to ride the crest of delight with life!
…(Isn’t it comforting that I the language of these old warriors, morality is something manly and not some drivel about its absence being circumscribed by only sexual abandon or fiscal responsibility, the only two applications I’ve ever seen the Pentagon make of the word.)
Morality shadows war and the preparation for it. Its echoes were always quietly vibrating even in the corridors of the North Vietnamese prisons. In the ordinary sense, what was moral to our jailers was immoral to us, but the subject lurked always. I am not saying they honoured our moral positions; but even as they waved them aside, if they detected conviction, consistency, and a sense of personal honor in us their eyes sometimes betrayed the fact that they were inwardly moved. They winced when you stood your ground and made them send you through the ropes for one more time. The commissar later mutters, “You are nothing like the French; we could always count on them to be reasonable.” Aha!!
The above is from Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot, by Jim Stockdale, a former Navy fighter pilot who was captured by the Vietnamese after his plane went down and who spent more than 7 years in captivity amidst the most brutal and torturous and evil conditions in which a man can be kept.
The topic of morality often sways to goodness, and goodness is clouded heavily by niceness, by ‘keeping the gloves on’ in life, by not getting down, dirty, and dangerous. Earlier in the chapter, Stockdale expresses thanks that he had no contact with his government while he was in prison because his government wouldn’t have the balls (paraphrasing) to do what was necessary for the integrity of its prisoners.
He’s seen and lived in circumstances that bring a man to his base, his core, and try to push him off the proverbial cliff, to a place where he compromises who he is and what he believes for relief and safety. The US government, along with virtually all governments in the west, save maybe the Russian – though they have their problems too – have lost site of the need to endure for the sake of maintaining a code.
We exchange prisoners with an evil enemy, something we’d long ago vowed never to do, because of a bleeding heart, breaking our values, compromising our character and beliefs for a snapshot on the White House lawn. My Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau – of whom I’m incredibly ashamed to call my Prime Minister – calls himself a feminist yet apologizes for and withdraws from a battle with an enemy who only recently burned 17 girls ALIVE because they wouldn’t marry males of their organization.
The women who met that horrific fate have shown far more strength, fortitude, and virtue than a male (I won’t use the word ‘man’ when talking about Trudeau) who is at the head of a once proud nation. Think of how he and Obama deem us a ‘world community’, calling themselves feminists and fighters for equality, yet will not actually fight for women who face rape and death daily.
We are losing men who led with honor, integrity, and with a manly morality and we’re replacing them with cowards who say what sounds nice but can never do what’s necessary. (Read This: 5 Ways Men Are Becoming Little Bitches)
When Stockdale expressed relief that he had no contact with his government during captivity it was because he and the men he was captured with had to do things to maintain their honor and integrity (the two most important characteristics for a man’s sanity) and avoid falling into the life-long pitfall of shame that comes with selling out their comrades and selling secrets to the enemy.
The whole mission of the Vietnamese was to bring shame to their captures. To torture – physically and mentally – to the point where they would give in and give up.
At one point, Stockdale remembers a meeting with a former prisoner of war who did compromise, and he could tell. The man wore a burden on his face and in his demeanor, it was one of shame that had been carried for decades. It was a mental torture that he would never shake incurred to find relief from the physical torture that the enemy put him through. The males who lead our nations – and the females – cannot comprehend going through pain for something greater than relief from said pain.
They cannot comprehend making hard decisions that are in the better interests of their nation. Their goal is popularity, not greatness. They acquire more and more debt, they spend what is not theirs, they bargain what should not be bargained, and they sleep soundly at night never having stood for what is truly right, for the character of a nation rather than for what was easiest to do in the moment. Their problems will be passed on in 4-8 years, all they have to do is say what the majority of people want to hear in the present.
FUCK ‘EM – IT’S ON YOU
The reality is that we’re led by cowards who were voted in by cowards. But who among us doesn’t compromise? Who among us doesn’t do what must be done if we’re to maintain integrity instead of doing what is easier to do?
Who among us wouldn’t crack? Who among us is tough enough on a daily basis to even get up at the right time or to not miss our workout or to do all the work we have to get done without pushing it to tomorrow?
The reality is that most of us push life to tomorrow. We compromise daily. We make excuses for ourselves and we never come close to realizing our potential, not as business men or money-makers but as men.
Run through this list, add what you can in the comments section, but there are so many bloody ways we compromise and we only see it on a bigger scale in how our nations are run. All we can do is fight, starting with the man in the mirror.
For those who’ll ask ‘why’? Why do what’s tough when what’s easy is, well, easy? This isn’t about popularity, though that’s why most people do what they do, nor is it about making your life easier. This is about right and wrong. It’s about you, internally, the man you are and your integrity. Think back to the former prisoner of war who compromised – that burden is real. Even if you haven’t identified it, every time you compromise your values, your integrity, you bring shame to your name and you wear that shame in your future decisions, in how you carry yourself, and it what you set your sights on.
You cannot be great if you compromise. You cannot truly be happy if you compromise. You cannot be the leader you should be if you compromise.
Draw your line in the sand. Never cross that mother fucker again.
HOW WE COMPROMISE
- We sleep in, opting for ease rather than work
- We do a half-assed job of the work we do around the house, leaving more work for others to do
- We’re stupid enough to think that more stuff will bring more happiness
- We choose TV over books, video games over mountains
- We don’t discipline our kids because we’re too busy trying to be their friends rather than their parents
- We don’t do what we said we were going to do
- We miss workouts with a laundry list of excuses
- We lie because the truth is harder to speak
- We set low goals for ourselves that we know we can accomplish
- We make excuses for ourselves
- We buck our responsibilities (fatherhood)
- We don’t identify our code because we don’t want to have to live up to it
- We won’t stand for what’s right at risk of doing what’s unpopular
- We complain without providing solutions (Read This: Stop. Fucking. Complaining.)
- We spend money uselessly for a quick euphoric feeling
- We bed loose women rather than seeking out the righteous ones that will ask more of us
- We walk our seeds to the slaughter and our women to the abortion clinic because the timing isn’t right
- We watch good men fight and we fade into the crowd
- We make work for others rather than doing the work on our own
- We’re afraid to offend so we make it impossible to speak the truth
- We give what is just short of our maximal effort because if we were to give it all and fail we’d see that we’re failures – so we fail to give it all, guaranteeing our failure
- We ask others for advice when we know what we must do in hopes that they’ll provide an alternate, easier route
- We turn a blind eye to the suffering of our brothers and sisters because we’re too afraid to bare their burden
- We stay safe, thus avoiding life
- We ask others to do what we’re not willing to do
- We blame our God, our parents, our genetics instead of showing up on time, working hard, and making something of ourselves
- We accept mediocrity as our reality and never dare to fight for more
- We buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like to fit into a society that goes against how humans should live
- We live for pleasure, then wonder why our lives are so empty
- We envy that which is not ours and hate those who have it.
About The Author
Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live. He’ll give you the kick in the ass needed to help you live a big, ambitious life.
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