Nourish your talent with integrity



Many men of talent make it to the top. But those without integrity had their talent toppled by dishonesty.

You cannot climb beyond the limitations of your character. Genius is like icebergs; only 15 per cent is visible. The rest, covered by character, is hidden.

No one is expected to succeed in life without integrity to protect his talent and sustain him in the struggle for fame.

Character is the pedestal that determines how much weight you can sustain. So, what comprises character or integrity?

One, self-discipline stands as the mainstay of integrity. And self-discipline is the ability to do what is right even when you don’t feel like doing it.

Great leaders of history understand this. The Greek philosopher, Plato, asserted: “The first and best victory is to conquer self.”

Oswald Sanders, in his book, Spiritual Leadership, said the future is with the disciplined. He said with all the gifts, a person without discipline is doomed.

Two, our core values are the principles we live by. They define our beliefs and how we live.

Preferably, you should write out your core values, so that they become beacons you can always use as guide. The man without an inner life is the slave of his surroundings.

Three, a person with integrity must have a sense of identity. The answer to who am I often provides the motivation to practice self-discipline.

Self-pride helps to establish emotional security. Our sense of security drives what we do.

The great American novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, recognised the need for a sense of identity when he said: “No man can for any considerable time wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one.”

You are set up to fail if you envision a goal before figuring out what kind of person you should be. Thus, a strong sense of identity is essential to become a person of integrity.

Indeed, characteristics of men of integrity align with values, thoughts, feelings and actions. When these are in alignment, a person becomes focused and his character is strengthened.

If you want your talent to take you far, you must nourish it with integrity, which shines and communicates.

The success of every national economy is dependent on both visionary leaders and righteous people.

Good character is the foundation upon which your talent and life can be built. Having integrity means who you are and who you appear to be are one and the same, and that is the first key to greatness.

Four, integrity communicates influence. Today, people demand respect. They believe influence and respect should be granted them because they have position and money.

However, respect and influence must be earned. They are built and sustained by character over time. No matter how brilliant a man may be, he will never engender confidence and respect from his subordinates and associates if he lacks honesty and moral courage.

Character cannot be inherited. It cannot be bought; it can only be built, only slowly. But without integrity you cannot lead others.

Five, your integrity will determine how long it will take you to get to the top. Dreams become shattered, opportunities are lost and organisations crumble when a person does not have the integrity to protect his talent.

Integrity provides the longevity in any career, in any relationship and in achieving any worthwhile goal. The only thing that walks back from the tomb, that refuses to be buried, is the character of the deceased. What you are survives you.

If you want your talent to last, depend upon your character. Integrity protects your talent and guards you from regret.

Six, as I see it, character is a synonym of integrity. And remember, talent is a gift; either you have it or you don’t.

Moreover, character is a choice. If you want it, you develop it. Don’t ever give in to adversity. It takes character to weather life’s storms. But adversity helps character, which cannot be developed in ease and quiet.

Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.

Anyone who does what he must only when he likes isn’t going to develop his talent or become successful. Your character becomes stronger whenever you come through adversity unscathed.

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