There is a difference between knowing the path & walking the path. – Morpheus
What does that mean?
This is a modern version of a very old quote. The basics of the quote is twofold. It is one thing to know the path to take. It is another thing to actually walk that path.
How many people know that it generally isn’t proper to lie, cheat, or steal? Yet nearly every day, the news on TV, radio and in newspapers is full of people who knew the path, but did not walk it. That doesn’t sound very bright to you, does it?
Why do they chose not to walk the path? Any number of reasons. They won’t be caught. The rules don’t apply to them. It’s not an important rule. Everyone ignores that rule. Even if I get caught, the punishment isn’t that serious or scary. You can probably add a few of your own, right?
Why is having integrity important?
At TheFreeDictionary.com, integrity is defined as “Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.” Also as “The state of being unimpaired; soundness.” And finally as “The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.” I believe all three apply to the quote.
- In order to adhere to a moral or ethical code, you will have to know the code and also act on it.
- In order to be unimpaired and sound, you have to understand and act on the thought that being impaired or unsound is not on the path.
- In order to be whole or undivided, you have to both know the path, as well as act in a manner consistent with the path.
Bringing both halves together, the knowing and the doing, is what this quote is all about. And it isn’t always easy. How many people know how many drinks they can handle, and then drink more? How many people know the dangers and harmful impact of smoking, yet refuse to quit?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Probably the two biggest problems where I lack integrity in my knowing and my doing are my eating habits and my driving habits. When I drive I have a tendency to drive more than just a little fast. I know better, I know the risks, yet for some reason, I keep pushing it. That’s not good.
As I am writing this, I have a big bag of pretzels next to me. And I have a bad case of hand-to-mouth disease. If I can reach it, I stuff it in my face. That is very much not a good thing. And I know better. The carbs have lots of bad things about them, and the salt doesn’t help.
What about you? Where in your life do you find yourself tempted to do, or actually doing, something you know you shouldn’t do? What are your excuses for why it’s OK to do it this time? What did you say last time, and the times before that?
Grab some paper and and write at least three of these thing (and the excuses that go with them) down, and leave a little space between them. The next thing I’d like for you to do is to write down why you allowed the excuse to give you the green light to do (or not do) that specific thing?
When you’ve got a few things down for each of them, look for a pattern. For me, the eating seems to boil down to ‘just one more won’t matter’ and I justify it by saying just one doesn’t matter. However, it’s never just one, is it? Not for me, at least. And that becomes my line of attack.
Look at your list and figure out what those common beliefs are, and see what you can do to undermine them. I know if I start eating, it won’t be one, and a whole bag will make a difference. A compromise is to pour out a proper portion, and put the rest of the bag away, right?
OK, I’m back now. I just went and put the bag away. I had already had more than was prudent. Better late on the path than not on it in the first place, right? What can you do right now, this very instant, that could help you get your feet back on the path?
What did you come up with as ideas for quick fixes once you recognize that you are off the path? What can you do to change your beliefs about straying from the path? Can you come up with something you can remember and can help give you strength when you are tempted to go off the path?
No one ever stays on the path all the time. We all wander off from time to time. The trick is to notice when you’re off, and work on getting back on as quickly as possible. What can you do to help keep track of how well you are staying on the path? The sooner you detect that you’re off, the sooner and easier it is to get back on, right?