Principles have achieved more victories than horsemen or chariots. W. M. Paxton
Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. Ralph W. Emerson
Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. Oprah Winfrey
Those that excel, generally, are individuals with very high standards. They give their utmost to everything, do not compromise principles and strive to achieve at the highest level. They have higher standards for themselves than is considered normal. They exceed the expectations of those they work for. Having such high standards guides them in their personal lives as well as in their work or profession.
Those that live by high standards are in the minority. We are constantly tempted to compromise, take short cuts, tell white lies and cut corners. It is tempting to take the quick and convenient way. We call this, ‘situation ethics’. We rationalize our actions by saying the situation justified our making an exception. Only on very rare occasions should such actions may be necessary. Difficult choices do confront us. It is hard to always be perfect.
The problem with lowering standards at any time and for whatever reason starts us down the ‘slippery slope.’ We may be very careful and possibly justified the first time. The second and the third gets easier and easier. We soon find ourselves not standing on the high moral ground from where once we stood. We all have experienced slipping on the slippery slope by telling white lies, eating or drinking more than we should, bending rules, taking advantage of others and taking short cuts. The list is long. Give an inch, then give a foot, then a yard and more.
We must learn to answer to ourselves. This is what high standards require. If we violate what we stand for and believe in, we do harm to ourselves and are letting ourselves down. We must strive to maintain high standards, principles, and morals; not allowing anything to cause them to slip away. When tempted to do something that is contrary to our high standards; we must stand our ground. We do not go down the slippery slope by persevering and persisting. We gain more in the long run by maintaining our standards than whatever it was we perceived to gain by a short term change. We can sacrifice the long term good by giving in to perceived short term benefits.
Maintaining our high standards and principles is critical to our well-being. We will be happier and more fulfilled when we are standing firm on them at all times. We can set a good example to others as well.
Challenge: What do high standards mean to you? What are your standards? How do you handle temptations to compromise them? Do you draw a line in the sand? How do you feel when you compromise them? Is it time to re-dedicate yourself to your standards and principles? Reaffirm and recommit to maintain them. Avoid giving in to instant gratification, easy ways out, and anything else that hurts you in the long run. Stand firm and stand tall.
Wisdom: Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives. William Foster
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31, 32
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shall go. I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalm 32:8
When we truly seek to follow God in our lives, we gain the strength we need to maintain high standards and principles. It is so difficult to resist giving in to the things tempting us and doing things we know we should not do. The ways of the world lure and appeal to us. It is so hard to resist. We cannot withstand these things only in our own strength. It requires the wisdom, courage, and strength that only God can give us to really stand firm.
Prayer: Help me to be measure up to the temptations of the day. Help me to stand firm.