As undesirable as ignorance is, there is something worse, and that’s a lack of integrity. Asking a question should mean not only that we want to know the truth about something; it should also mean that we want to do what’s right about that truth.
Some people run from hard work as if it were a disease. You’d think that work is undesirable, something to be done only if there is no other choice, and not a minute longer than it takes to get it over with. This is an unfortunate misconception.
What people want is for us to be comfortable in our own skins, to work hard at being the best “us” we can be, and to extend ourselves to them naturally and honestly. Most folks find snapshots more endearing than glamour shots.
We all need to have “comfort zones,” but we can’t stay inside them all the time. There may be a good deal of coziness, but there’s very little learning, and learning is an unavoidable necessity if there’s going to be any progress in our lives.
When others know that we can be counted on, and that when we’ve failed to do what’s right, we’ll spend our time making restitution rather than making excuses, they will find a security in their relationship with us that can’t be found any other way.
No matter how richly textured they may be in other ways, if our characters haven’t been made more worthy by the acquirement of virtue, then we’re still paupers. To be rich, in the long run, simply means to do what is right.
Our zeal must be disciplined. Like literal fire, the fire of zeal must not only be stoked; it must be kept inside the boiler. Our enthusiasm must be trained, channeled, directed, and governed — or else it’ll do more harm than good.
Let’s use well this year’s last day, learning all we can from what is now behind us. And tomorrow, let’s release what has ended and grasp what will then be just beginning. Let us end today in such a way that tomorrow will be our best beginning yet.
Our best treasures don’t have to be rare. Unlike gems or precious metals whose value depends upon their rarity, treasures of the heart can be gathered from plentiful sources. Let us not overlook the wealth of goodness that surrounds us each moment.
The freedom to value things according to our conscience should encourage us to learn to evaluate things more truthfully and skillfully. As this year closes, we’ll do ourselves (and our relationships) a favor if we upgrade our values.