Two years ago I wrote about a set of standards that I set for my life. These weren’t goals, they were qualitative boundaries for how I would (and would not) conduct my life as I pursued my goals. This list was my list of “non-negotiables”; if you took me, you took them. They were a part of the package.
Now that it has been a couple of years, I felt compelled to review them. I can say with pride that I held onto some of them with great integrity. However, in other places, I negotiated – sometimes for the sake of “efficiency”, and others just out of weakness. Never being one who is satisfied at his current level of evolution, I offer (for myself mainly, but I hope these are helpful for you too), my revised list* of non-negotiables:
- I am faithful to my wife.
- I say what I want.
- I will meet head-on those who bully and abuse.
- I am dangerous to those who oppose truth, goodness, and reason.
- Compassion for my family trumps my need to be right.
- I replace doubt with acts of grace.
- I am a risk taker.
- I live in accordance with my faith, and no one else’s.
- I do what I believe is in the best interest of my family, even if they disagree.
- I do not ask for permission.
- How I live will give more credence to my integrity than my words.
- Fear does not keep me from taking risks.
- I do not indulge my addictions.
- I am a man of my word, period.
- I do not show anger to my Mother.
- When name-calling begins, the discussion is over.
- I spend time with people I respect.
- I will not feel guilt in resting from work.
- I ask for help when I’m not being the man I want to be.
- I do not hide from confrontation.
- I honor my daily spiritual practices.
- I welcome feedback from those I trust.
- I only apologize when it’s appropriate, not simply to please others.
- I choose which of my friendships to maintain.
- I do not sell out who I am to placate others.
- I do as I see fit.
- Hell will break away at my feet.
These are my non-negotiables, they come with the package.
*The list is posted in two highly visible places in my life as burying them deep in a blog post will do them no good. If you make a list, I suggest you do the same.