If money lends financial grace and security to us, honesty and discipline certainly earn us long-lasting respect
“He who lives without discipline dies without honour.” This Icelandic proverb purports beautifully the need for discipline and honour in one’s life. There are many tangible things and ethics that add grace and beauty to our personality. In the present time, a well-settled life, a luxurious car, a grand house displaying space and magnanimity, etc. make our life impactful and impressive among the echelons of the society in which we live. If we are financially sound and well-off, we may definitely make an imaginable impact in a society that respects only those who display financial grace and economic clout. But in my opinion, the respect and kudos served to us by people because of our financial superiority are fake, transitory and have only the existence of a bubble. Barring these tangible things, there are many other aspects and ethics that may certainly earn respect and honour for us.
We compete with one another in the field of finance, ostentation, affectation and all that. But there are some fields where we lag behind and do not compete with one another. Such fields where there is no competition are honesty and discipline. We compete in the financially and technologically fast-changing world with each other in order to be the number one competitor. But, Alas! We do not compete where we need to. No doubt, competition in the areas of economy and finance is the need of the hour, but while competing there, we must not shun the ethics of honesty and discipline. Balance has to be maintained and the lop-sided aspect of living has to be avoided. Once this is followed, it naturally gives birth to honesty and discipline. “The only way to achieve greatness in life is to have patience, consistency, and discipline,” says David Goggins.
If money lends financial grace and security to us, honesty and discipline certainly earn us long-lasting respect. They are the two soft skills that also leave an impression on others. We must make an honest display of discipline and honesty wherever we are for it is well said by C.S Lewis that integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Honesty and discipline are two graceful badges that enhance our grace even if we are financially precarious. But the irony of this fast-changing world where there is ‘dog-eat-dog competition’ is that honesty and discipline are found now only in the residual form. Nowadays, our ethical system has collapsed. Only those people are revered and respected who have mastery over cunningness and chicanery.
It is a platitude that honesty is the best policy. But this platitude needs to be deconstructed because if it is policy then it is not honesty, for the word ‘policy’ has something to do with ‘politics.’ It is germane to quote Richard Whately who says, “Honesty is the best policy, but he who is governed by it is not an honest man.” Honest is in no way a policy. It is only an ethic of a well-governed and well-disciplined life. We must live our lives on the principles of honesty and discipline. Both these ethics are religiously and socially demanding. We must endeavour to have mastery of them for they are the two valuable badges of honour. When one dies no one talks about his/her richness or poverty. Everyone speaks about his/ her way of life religiously and socially. So, finally, it is not our economic condition that becomes the moot point but how we have lived our lives. If we live our lives on the principles and parameters of honesty and discipline, they will surely be the honourable badges of our afterlife. Thereby hangs a tale!
The writer works as a Lecturer (English) in School Education Department (J&K) and is posted at GHSS, Ladhoo, Pampore. He has qualified UGC-NET and JKSET in English and has done Ph.D. and M.Phil from, Aligarh Muslim University. He can be reached at [email protected]