In persuasion, our character is important. What we “are” speaks loudly. Even if our convictions are passionately held, if our character is out of sync with our convictions, our hypocrisy will become evident (eventually) and people won’t be persuaded.
We need to choose the “sources” of our thinking carefully. And we need to honor our sources. Above all, we need to live with consistent integrity to our sources — so that the excellence of “where we’re coming from” will radiate to those around us.
Making amends is one of the most difficult things in life, but it’s also one of the most important. The making of amends is something we should do regularly. Timely amendments are a part of the maintenance that keeps our relationships working.
Without good stewardship of our resources, we won’t be able to do as much good with them as we should. So we need to be economical. Learning self-denial and restraint, we need to avoid waste and practice the principles of wise conservation.
Emotions and appetites are good things that can serve us well, but not unless they’ve been trained to do so. Much that is good about life depends upon freedom, and there is no freer person than the one who has learned how to use the word “no.”
Great good comes from turning off the chatter and just listening. In particular, we need to listen to our consciences. Often, our consciences have crucial things to say to us, but we can’t hear them because there’s too much noise. We need to listen!
While it’s true that our words to others must sometimes take the form of criticism, when it comes to sheer power, criticism is no match for praise. “Praise can give criticism a lead around the first turn and still win the race” (Bern Williams).
Consider the meaning of “recreation.” As the spelling of the word indicates, recreation is a re-creation of ourselves. When we’ve been used up, recreation is that which “makes us over again.” It rejuvenates us, sending us back to our work refreshed.
The most effective way to do something isn’t always apparent to the casual observer, and so if being methodical helps us to find the best way, then the more important the activity is, the bigger the benefit we get from being methodical.
We are social creatures who thrive on togetherness. We experience a basic satisfaction when we collaborate. And we enjoy the “together” aspect of work because we realize we’re connected to a reality that’s bigger than any of our individual works.