Moral Compass For Resilience In The Face of Adversity
To resiliently bounce back when life has knocked you down, you must be decisive and act. Nevertheless, decisive action is often very difficult in the wake of adversity. Your ascent from the darkness of the abyss is made easier when you use the guiding light of the moral compass.
When you find yourself in the darkness of the abyss of despair, when the temptation is to bend the rules, use deception, take advantage of others and even cheat, the compass will help you choose the right direction, make decisions you will not have to apologize for later and ultimately find your way from the darkness of the abyss to the light of success. The term moral compass may be thought to denote any tool that serves to guide or direct your system
The moral compass for resilience consists of four points — honesty, integrity, fidelity and ethical behavior — which collectively can help you navigate in the direction of virtue no matter how turbulent your journey in life may be. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, we believe there are important differences and that one builds upon the other.
Honesty, integrity, fidelity and ethical behavior tend to remove the risk from business and personal relationships. They offer interpersonal predictability; predictability engenders safety; and safety fosters trustworthiness. When you deal in business or personal relationships, others will never have to worry who “has their back” because their back will never be in danger. An amazing thing happens when you are perceived as trustworthy: You will be given greater responsibility that will lead to more opportunities.
Honesty may be thought of as being truthful. Honesty may be thought of as being genuine. It is the absence of deception, fraud or deliberate misrepresentation. Dishonesty, on the other hand, is the presence of dis-ingenuousness. If your intention is to deceive so as to harm
another or to achieve personal gain or advantage, then that is dishonesty. Cheating (taking unfair advantage) is dishonest. Any advantage that is gained through dishonesty seems
brittle and short-lived. Dishonesty is often born of urgency, impulsivity and greed. For most people, dishonesty seems most associated with situational stress and a lack of personal resiliency. For this reason, so-called honesty tests are generally poor predictors of dishonesty.
While integrity is sometimes defined as honesty, it is actually a virtuous reliability and consistency that is built on a foundation of honesty. Integrity may be thought of as reliable incorruptibility and uncompromising sincerity. Warren Buffet is one of the world’s richest men, having built, from relatively meager beginnings, an international investment empire. He is, for many, a paragon of business success. On the issue of integrity, he offers a personal imperative
as well as an organizational admonition: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” From the organizational perspective, he notes, “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”
The third point on the moral compass is fidelity, which means faithfulness and dedication. The Latin phrase semper fidelis — adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps as its motto in 1883 — means always faithful. The concept of fidelity as a core attribute dates back at least 200 years earlier in England, where it was a motto for aristocratic families and even entire cities. Fidelity is a precious commodity.
The most complicated aspect of the moral compass is ethical behavior. Ethics often refers to a code of conduct that is pro-social. Simply said, ethical behavior supports and enhances a society and serves the greater good. Ethics is often linked to morality. Ethical behavior may
be thought of as acting harmoniously within prescribed values of fairness as well as simply doing what is “right” and “just.” Ethical behavior, acting pro-socially, may be the most complex but important element; it serves as an action-oriented collective term for the other three points on the compass. Honesty, integrity and fidelity must culminate in ethical behavior if they are to serve as psychological body armor.
Why is the moral compass an important aspect of psychological body armor? When you see honesty, integrity, fidelity and ethical behavior in others, it creates a compelling atmosphere. They serve to create a role model for others. They immediately create a sense of predictability.
Predictability creates a sense of safety. Safety inspires trust.
For leaders of groups, organizations, societies and even nations, trust creates compliance. Conversely, deception, duplicity and dishonesty erode trust. They erode organizational,
social and even national effectiveness. People will be inclined to act to protect themselves and defend their actions, rather than thinking outside the norm and taking risks that could rapidly and significantly advance the group toward its goal