054 – A Man’s Personal Honor

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A MAN’S PERSONAL HONOR…

Today we are discussing a word that is often used; sometimes correctly sometimes not.  I think it’s a word that is not that well understood in general.  The word is ‘honor’.

So what is honor, and how does it apply to our mission of being a better man?  What does it mean to live with honor…to be an honorable man?  These are the questions I will answer in this episode.

Like many english words, honor is used in a few different ways.  One way is when it is used to bestow respect or admiration for something someone did well, or to acknowledge someone for performing well and meeting their obligations. 

For example; a building can be named in honor of a Cities founder.  A football team that performs well is said to bring honor to the school.  It was an honor to be invited to your wedding.  Someone can graduate with honors or leave the military with an honorable discharge.

While these are all proper uses of the word…it’s not exactly what I am taking about today.  The kind of honor I am talking about today is much more personal and individual, its more specific. 

The phrase; “to live with honor” implies that there is a code or list of rules to follow.  While the phrase; “he is an honorable man” implies that honor is a matter of reputation that is earned.  Both of these are correct…honor is both of these things, but it isn’t ONLY these things.  The word honor is a simple noun but the word honor as I am applying it today is also a complex concept with many components.

Honor is a complex composition of things that includes your earned reputation as a man.  It is also a personal code that you design and live by and in so doing preserve that reputation.  Truth and courage are also major components of honor because you cannot accomplish all this without them. 

Other components of honor are more internal.  Honor is a deep abiding commitment to one’s self that you will live and react and interact with others in a way that is consistent with what you believe in the core of your being. 

At times it takes great courage to do this; you also must be truthful with yourself at all times in order to pull this off.   Honor does not thrive…it cannot exist in the presence of excuses or weakness of character.

Honor is that unseen force that makes you stand behind the things you say and keep your word no matter what. It makes you remember promises, and causes you to treat others as you would like to be treated.  Your honor compels you to do the right thing even when no one else would know.

I’m really just scratching the surface here, but in my opinion these are the primary components of personal honor.  I think of it like something I possess, as though it is part of me like my heart or my liver.  Like I take all of these components and I put them in a bag and I keep that bag inside of me like an internal organ.  And just like any other internal organ my behavior and lifestyle will determine its health and good function, or lack thereof.

It might sound kind of woo woo to some people, but I find it helpful to visualize things like this because then instead of an abstract idea I can see this organ functioning in my minds eye.  I know whats inside the bag because I put them there, and I have a responsibility to ensure that my honor remains healthy and functioning.

However you keep track of it, we have identified the kind of personal honor that we are talking about today.  We have determined what the primary components are.  The next question is how does honor relate to the mission of being a better man today than we were yesterday?

Actually I think it’s really obvious how honor relates to being a better man, it’s really just common sense…but I’ll go over it anyway.

I’ll illustrate that point by suggesting that you imagine the opposite:

Imagine a man who has not earned a reputation as a good man, a man who has no personal code of conduct, imagine also that this man possesses neither truth or courage.  He has no commitment to act according to his own beliefs.  He forgets his promises.  He does not stand behind what he says and is not known to keep his word.  When he is alone he is not compelled to to the right thing.  In short, this is description of a man completely without honor.

So I ask you.  Is this a description of a man who is being a better man?  Of course not!  Would you choose to have anything to do with a man who fits this description?  I certainly wouldn’t.

So, it seems that to live with honor…to be an honorable man is synonymous with being a better man.  Does that mean you have to master everyone of these components right this second?  No, but it does mean that you should be conscious of these elements of honor and be striving toward them all the time.

If you do that, if you aspire daily to master these components of honor and are diligent in maintaining the health of your personal honor as a man, if your honor becomes a thing that you value and hold in the highest esteem…then, you will be a better man today, than you were yesterday.  If you are doing all that it would be difficult not to become better. 

I’m going to go a little deeper now.  It’s one thing to say all this or listen to all this and agree with it and then just go on with your life.  It’s another thing entirely to figure out how to put this into action today!  How do you translate these words into real-life results?

One thing I always say is that the things we focus on expand.  The things that we make a priority will come to pass.  The purpose of this podcast is to help you decide what to focus on…what to make a priority.

If you focus on your personal honor, if you make it a priority, then you will have it.  In every interaction with other people it will be at the top of your consciousness.  When you go to work and the health of your honor is in the forefront of your mind, you will be an honorable man.  When you are alone you will do the things that are right even when no one is watching. 

There is opportunity for the concept of honor to preside in almost every waking moment of human life, and it will…if you make it a priority.

If you do that, if you develop a code of personal conduct to live by, you will earn a reputation as an honorable man, you will be known as a man of truth and courage, your actions will be consistent with what you believe.  You will stand behind what you say and keep your word and remember your promises and when you are all alone you will do the right thing when no one else is watching.

If you do this, and make honor a daily priority, the most valuable thing you have in life will be increased…I’m not talking about your 401K, I’m talking about your relationships.  Every relationship you have will be improved; at home, at work, with friends and even your relationship with yourself.  And that my friends, is the ultimate pay-off of Being a better man. 

I’m going to wrap this up there for now.  If anything isn’t clear, if you have a question about anything I’ve said today don’t hesitate to send me an email.  I return every email I receive…unless it’s spam.  If there is any part of this you feel I need to elaborate on, just let me know.

The topic of honor can be a deep one, like I said I’m really just scratching the surface here.  In the future I will probably break some of this down even further, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

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