Reputation and Trust

“My reputation precedes me”

Trust and reputation are interesting topics to think about. Both are going to be impactful to one’s success and their relationships with others, but they are two things about oneself that live entirely in the minds of others. In the end, one’s ability to be trustworthy and that reputation that precedes them is hinged upon how others perceive them. 

Neither trust nor reputation can be directly affected. In fact, attempting to directly affect trust and reputation will likely have the opposite effect than desired. In trying to bolster one’s trustworthiness one runs the risk of losing themselves as attempting to do things that are seen as trustworthy to others will likely result in taking actions that are untrue to oneself. This is because actions are being taken to appease another rather than serve one’s own wants. The same goes for reputation. To attempt to construct a specific reputation in the eyes of another one is going to be attempting to create a specific effect rather than stay true to one’s character and values. 

The fact that neither trust or reputation can be directly influenced makes them derivative characteristics. That is to say the value of one’s trust and reputation are derived from the actions that one does take. It is said that perception is reality and that is no more true than in this circumstance. The perception of the outside world is paramount in defining these qualities of a person. 

This is somewhat unsettling. In today’s climate of cancel-culture and the social power afforded to others via social media, it is an interesting thought that some of the most influential pieces of a person’s success live entirely outside of that person. 

Trust and reputation are two things that can take a person years to develop and take minutes to destroy. Both trust and reputation are fragile in that way. One lapse in judgement is all it takes to tarnish what one has taken years to build. 

What is the larger point here? I am not writing a Transmission to complain about the fragility of reputation and trust. Instead, it is worth noting how one builds a favorable reputation and proves to others that they are trustworthy. 

The secret is to not think about it or make either reputation or trust a concern. That’s it. Allow your actions to speak for themselves. Don’t attempt to prove your trustworthiness or attempt to fabricate a specific reputation. These qualities are more subtle and are products of many other things, as was stated earlier. 

The best way to gain the trust of others is to be authentic. To be true to one’s character makes them transparent in a way; others are able to see through the facade and into the core of a person. Authenticity can be felt just as inauthentic actions are. Authenticity breeds consistency and consistency makes trusting another easier. Authenticity and consistency breed natural actions further cementing one’s trustworthiness. It is easy to trust another when they are dependable. 

The best way to build a reputation is to have strong values and to live to those values relentlessly. Similar to trust, consistently living to one’s values will speak volumes more than taking sporadic and inconsistent action toward one’s values. When attempting to appease others, one’s reputation will weaken. A strong reputation is built in the same place it lives – in the minds of others. Allow others to form their own opinions. It is the Initiated’s job to lead them to the correct opinions through unrelenting adherence to their values. 

Rebuilding reputation and trust is another part of this too, especially if one has either damaged the view of themselves to others or if one is attempting to make changes in their lives and need to change how they are seen by a larger population. Again, consistency is key and focusing on one’s path to achieving their goals is the best way to show others what one wants them to see. Note; however, this one universal truth – others will take longer to notice the changes made than it will take for one to see the changes within themself. Other people will be slow on the uptake. They do not spend as much time with you as you do with yourself. They will not see all of the changes one makes. They are generally less interested in others than they are in themselves. All of this is fine – it just needs to be understood. 

At the end of the day, the changes being made and the reputation trying to be rebuilt is for oneself anyway. The reputation held by others is their reality, not the individual’s. While it is true that trustworthiness and reputation will impact one’s opportunities in life, a damaged reputation can be overcome with enough time and conviction to one’s path. 

The overarching point of this Transmission is that while trust and reputation are not entirely within the grasp of an individual, their actions affect how others see them. It is also in how one views themselves that will inform how they present themselves to the world and will influence the face that they share with the world. When one lives in line with their values, they have a greater chance at painting a favorable picture in the minds of others. One who is in lock-step with their values carries themselves differently, they have confidence and conviction, their decisions make sense. People pick up on these subtleties and it goes a long way in informing their perceptions. 

There will always be a small subset of the population that cannot be won over. These are the people that will forever be an enemy. These people deserve no attention and must be dropped from one’s mind – they are not worth the effort needed to try to change their mind. 

By living to one’s values and having a conviction in their Philosophy, they will create a favorable reputation and will be seen as authentic and trustworthy. Having strong character will open up many opportunities and will make it easier for one to navigate through the world.

In this instance, strength begets further strength. The momentum afforded by a strong reputation and a high level of trust can be brought forward to further one’s opportunities. 

Yours in strength

-Jersey

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Strategy and Unbalance

Unbalance will beat balance when there is a goal and strategy being pursued.

Balance in life is an idea thrown around often. It is commonly thought to be the answer to fulfillment and happiness by way of maintaining an equilibrium between all of the demands that are put upon a person. Remaining balanced is seen as the way that a person keeps their life “in check”, so to speak, not allowing any one area of life to take up an unreasonable or unhealthy portion of their time.

Balance is compromise. Said another way – balance can only be achieved through compromise. When balance is the goal, compromise is the method by which one is able to reach that goal. Prioritizing balance is a symptom of one who does not have a larger goal in place nor a strategy to achieve it. Without a goal or strategy, a person is simply existing. There is likely a lack of drive to achieve anything beyond comfort and contentment and so balance becomes the default goal. 

When there is a larger goal or purpose in a person’s life there is a drive to achieve a specific end. To achieve that specific end they will need a strategy. That strategy will specify the steps and actions needed to make progress toward the goal. Such a strategy will not focus on balance but rather on progress. Driving progress creates opportunity for unbalance and it is in an unbalanced state where real progress is made. 

Unbalance will always beat balance when there is a real goal being worked toward. It is because the unbalance will allow a person to be selective in their pursuits – to say “no” to all things that don’t support or align with the goal being pursued. Focusing one’s resources and abilities toward a single end will increase the effectiveness of those efforts where spreading one’s limited resources across many pursuits serves to make the impacts of those same efforts less potent. 

Below are the tactics and considerations needed to make an unbalanced strategy work effectively:

1. Have a clear, specific goal and know the strategy.

Strategy was discussed in the introduction but is important enough to be repeated as the first consideration. Unbalance is to be used for a specific purpose and that specific purpose must be known and understood in order to keep efforts in alignment with achievement. 

The idea of balance is thrown around in response to those who do not use unbalance as a tool but rather those that are too far unbalanced without having a larger strategy in play. Consider the advice given to workaholics – those that live and breathe their work while other aspects of their lives are left in disrepair. Often the workaholic does not have great relationships and their health is in need of work. Their work is their addiction and their addiction negatively impacts other areas of their lives. This subset of the population is extremely unbalanced and it is not a healthy existence. The problem is not simply that they work too much, though, it is that they work too much to the detriment of everything else around them. Said differently, it is not the amount of work they subject themselves to, it is that their work does not support anything outside of simply working more. 

2. Understand the degree of unbalance to be pursued.

Think of unbalance as a circle within which someone operates. The center of the circle is perfect balance and each step away from the center is a radius increasing the level of unbalance in any one direction. There should be a specific number of “steps” that one is comfortable taking away from perfect balance before they cross a threshold into an area that works against their goals. This is the threshold of strategic unbalance to harmful unbalance. 

The degree of strategic unbalance is defined by the goals and strategy put in place by any one person. There is no standard deviation from the center that is applicable to all people but rather the deviation must be defined by each individual.

Going back to the workaholic discussed in point 1, let’s take another look at their habits. We discussed that the problem is not the amount of work that said workaholic subjects themselves to; rather, the issue is that work is an addiction that controls them. Work is often done at the expense of other things like health and relationships. 

Now, what if a certain person’s strategy is established to be that unbalanced? What if a person has very aggressive goals and their strategy to achieve their goals is to be extremely off-balance to the point that they resemble a workaholic? Would that change anything?

It would. In this instance, the workload taken on is intentional and supporting a larger goal. An extremely unbalanced strategy can be effective if there are very specific goals being pursued and the timeframe of such extreme unbalance is defined. I wouldn’t recommend sacrificing health and relationships to achieve a goal, but I cannot speak in definitive terms for all. 

3. Make focus cyclical and put other disciplines in maintenance mode temporarily.

Humans cannot focus on too many things at the same time without performance slipping and so we must decide what few disciplines of our strategy we will focus on at any given time. When it is decided that one will focus on a select few disciplines, the others must go into maintenance mode while the chosen disciplines are built. This will allow progress made elsewhere to be maintained while building specific areas of focus. 

It must be understood that maintenance mode must be temporary. Maintenance is not progress and so one cannot allow certain disciplines to go into maintenance mode for too long or else that area will start to atrophy and begin to regress. It is important that one’s focus in an unbalanced strategy be cyclical – focus must shift on a chosen interval in order to ensure that all areas are being developed without losing ground in any one area. 

Cyclical focus is how one is able to grow in many areas while benefiting from the focus afforded by an unbalanced strategy. Whereas prioritizing balance will make everything of the same priority, cycling focus in an unbalanced strategy allows for a defined and meaningful level of priority and; therefore, the ability to truly excel in many areas. 

Wrap Up

This Transmission is an important part of the Initiated Lifestyle to understand. It is one thing to be motivated to do more and work harder, but one must also prioritize and understand how to work smart to get the most impact from their efforts. 

The ideas of an unbalanced strategy – having and understanding goals and strategy, defining a degree of unbalance, and cycling focus – are all basic ideas needing to be understood to lead both oneself and to lead a team. As a leader one must be able to see the larger goals and strategy and understand how the tactics being employed work to support that larger mission. Cycling focus, prioritizing efforts, and unbalancing resources to address specific issues are all tactics used by effective leaders, people, and teams to make the most efficient and effective use of resources. 

Unbalance will always beat balance. It is the difference between being effective in a few areas at a time and being ineffective in all areas at once. 

Set a plan and keep resources fluid enough that they can be shifted into those areas that need them. Cycle through the different areas of focus until all areas are built to where they need to be. It is a process. Meaningful change is not quick but takes discipline and time to build.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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Defining and Achieving Success

There is no honor in redefining success by lowering criteria to meet the current circumstance.

Success is a set of criteria that must be defined by an individual and is based on their Values and Philosophy. Success can be thought of simply as living in line with such Values and Philosophy. It must be defined with unmoving criteria if one wants to truly be successful. It cannot be defined on a moving scale. The criteria must be unchanging and the individual must rise to the level of achievement they seek. To move the scale of success is to cheapen the actual success one may achieve.

Success requires a great deal of discipline and strength to achieve. As one gets increasingly ambitious with their goals, their character must rise to match the challenges they face. There will be obstacles to overcome and many chances to quit along the path. The Initiated see these obstacles and run right at them with the intention of overcoming them. The drive to achieve based on Philosophy comes from deep within the Initiated. To the Initiated, to fail a pursuit is to betray their character – it is a significant occurrence. 

When an individual decides to define success for themselves they reject the ideals of the masses and give themselves the opportunity to succeed and stand out from the herd. There are some things that the Initiated must look out for, though. These are the tactics exploited by the masses in their effort to make achievement accessible to many and effectively diminish such achievement. These must be known to the Initiated when they decide they no longer want to subscribe to the ideas spread by society to stay true to their path. 

Early Exits

As mentioned, along the journey there will be opportunity to take an exit off of the path to a place of diminished success. These exits are named things like “good enough”, “close enough”, or “sufficient”. All of these terms mean that you have not reached the intended end but instead have just moved the end of the journey up to where one may currently be. This is the application of the sliding scale discussed above. These are the verbal equivalents of participation trophies – one did not win, but should feel some cheapened form of accomplishment for what they have been able to do. 

Another instance of early exits are found in revisiting the original intent of the journey. Said differently, going back to make sure one “understood” what the original goal of the pursuit was. Understood is in quotations here because the goal of such a practice is often not to gain better understanding but rather to redefine what the criteria for success was; in a situation where the goal proves to be more difficult to achieve than anticipated, the goal is redefined to something more attainable from where one currently sits. 

Society uses these tactics to diminish the meaning of achievement or to make success more accessible to the masses. When the standards prove to be too rigorous and when too many people complain of challenge, society responds with lessened requirements. Those that disagree with the new rules are attacked until the new, lower standards achieve mass adoption. 

This practice is a disservice to everyone who participates. The ability to change the rules of the game after the game starts only serves to make winning the game easier and brings the performance of the whole population down along with the game’s integrity. No longer are people challenged to rise to the occasion. Instead, the world makes it possible for the criteria to come lower to meet those people unfit to elevate themselves to such heights.

Recognizing and Accepting Failures

The easy interpretation of pitting success against failure is to say that without one, one cannot appreciate the other. Without knowledge and understanding of failure, one cannot appreciate success. This is too surface-level to be significant. One’s ability to recognize and accept their failures is paramount in maintaining the integrity of their successes. 

Those with a fragile ego will be unable to admit to their failures. When one is unable to recognize and own failures, they will need to spin their failures into success, or worse, defend themselves by pinning failures on circumstances or factors “out of their control”. Neither practice supports meaningful success. Instead, these practices breed weakness and diminish the success that may have happened by not allowing the true successes to stand on their own having to share the spotlight with the failures that are spun into successes. This is done in an effort to protect the ego of the individuals involved.

Society has created an attitude where everyone’s a winner. Society’s inability to address and define “losers” has cheapened the accomplishment of succeeding within the system. Those participants of the masses that are unable to look within for an answer to why they are unsuccessful are seen launching outward attacks citing things such as inequality of opportunity, favoritism, or any other excuse that deflects responsibility from themselves to the system as a whole. 

The acceptance in response to such attacks – the willingness to provide credibility to such assertions gives these people just the validation they need to continue thinking this way. The validation provides the justification needed to reinforce the narrative that the game is rigged against them and they will never succeed regardless of their efforts. This is a cancer that is taking hold of everyone with this mindset rotting the population from the inside out. 

The truth is that this mindset and perspective is just the thing that is diminishing these people’s chances at succeeding. Rather than shine a light on this fact, the masses continue to allow such a victimized perspective to continue and further go to foster these ideas with campaigns to “close the gap”.

Wrap Up

Success is achieved when one looks within for the answers to the question “how do I succeed”. By looking within one is going to find the methods and strategies needed to elevate themselves to a level of success rather than attempting to find all of the ways in which they can lower the requirements of success to come closer to them. This should be the goal of anyone setting out on the path to be successful and to get more than they currently have. They must find the ways that they must grow in order to get to where they want to go.

Society’s willingness and ability to continually lower expectations of people is hurting the population. Call it tough-love if preferred, but it is our obligation to keep the entry to success high and challenge others to reach that elevated level. This is how the Initiated grow and how everyone else should be challenged to do the same.

The Initiated must live in this world amongst these people that choose to look externally for the answers, but they do not need to engage with this outlook. Amongst all of the noise, the Initiated work to develop themselves in line with their own Values and Philosophy. The Initiated live to their own set of standards and will outperform the masses worrying about how badly they are being screwed by the world. 

Define success then put a plan together to achieve. Do not stop until you reach the promised land.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey

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A Life With Integrity

The common definition of Integrity provides only the smallest piece of the concept.

To define Integrity as simply acting to a moral code or as acting with moral uprightness would be to miss the real power of the concept. While these definitions are not incorrect, they fail to capture the full scope of what it means to live with Integrity. To act with Integrity is to direct all actions and decisions to be in line with a moral code or set of acceptable behaviors; whereas to live with Integrity is to unify all areas of one’s life in alignment with a clear vision of where one wants to go. It is this idea of unity and completeness that is the real power Integrity.

A Short Metaphor

When a building or structure has integrity it means it is complete and structurally sound; it is built to spec combining all of the required components to make the structure stand safe and be equipped to perform its intended function. A structure’s integrity depends upon all features of its construction starting from the foundation, to the steel, to the wall systems, windows, interior, roof system, etc. Anything that is built on or within the structure must appropriately interact with all other parts for it is all of the pieces of the building that makes the final product safe, lasting, and fit for purpose. 

To reach that end, a building’s design is first based on the requirements of what the structure will be used for as the structure’s intended purpose will inform many of the design considerations. From there, engineers must consider the location of the structure, the construction schedule, and the budget. The combination of these criteria come together to inform the final design product that will be built. There exists an ideal combination of these criteria to optimize both the design and construction efforts to support the final goal of a safe and functioning building that can be built on time and on budget.

These same considerations that architects and engineers give to building design should be considered by each person that is planning and building their life. 

Defining the Criteria

A fulfilled life is a compilation of many components; some being direct ties to the Initiated tenets and some that are interpretations, applications, and implementations of those Tenets. Regardless, the fulfilled life for any person considers the many aspects that must support and integrate with each other to build a life that is more than the sum of all of its parts.

Consider some of the following things that are typical staples of descriptions of the “perfect life”. Consider the time and effort required to only maintain these different areas let alone excel in each of them:

  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Career
  • Financial stability
  • Physical ability
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Mental strength / Intelligence
  • Community
  • Hobbies
  • Travel

It is the integration and interaction of these things that come together to provide the full scope of what one’s life is intended to be. It is the application of Integrity that will optimize one’s efforts toward each area in support of the integrated whole.

Again, this list is general as each person must define their own goals and further define the level of importance assigned to each item in order to bring into focus what that ideal life will look like. One must visualize what that perfect combination will feel like, look like, sound like, where it is, and when it will be reached. From there, one can begin to build their plan to get there considering the role each one will play and how it will interact and integrate with the others.

This concept of Integrity is often overlooked or marginally implemented in constructing one’s plan. Understanding how all of these pieces will fit and interact with each other is important. It is often an oversight as it is the Integrity of the plan that will determine how close one will eventually come to that vision of their ideal life. 

On Limitations

A truth that must be accepted is that each person’s ability to achieve everything that they want will be limited by their ability to capitalize on their resources. Many do not have infinite resources available to them and even if one found themselves with unlimited financial or personnel resources at their disposal, they will still not be able to buy themselves more time. This is to say that one’s lifetime is finite. Delegating tasks and to create time to dedicate elsewhere is a good strategy, but time remains the universal limitation that all must aim to maximize.

Understanding and exploiting Integrity is the idea of unifying all resources and actions toward the same end. Spent resources that do not provide equivalent or exceeding returns must be limited as it will be a violation of the Integrity one seeks to build.

The Fallacy of Balance

Further to implementing Integrity is the understanding that perfect balance should not be pursued as the goal in building an integrated whole. To try to build all parts of one’s life equally and concurrently will be deciding to fail at all parts equally. Balance is only reached at the end of the pursuit, when there is no further building to be done. It is the point of contentment; of homeostasis – all parts have found their spot and no further adjustment is needed.

Instead, it is more beneficial to one trying to build their life to do so in an unbalanced but controlled manner; the idea being to delegate one’s resources more heavily to a smaller number of pursuits at any one time to maximize the gains from their efforts while other areas are put in maintenance mode as to not lose ground. Cycling through each area of the plan over a period of time allows one to build all of the pieces into the larger end picture. 

The degree of unbalance and the frequency of this cycling of focus is determined by one’s strategy.

This concept speaks to a larger unified expenditure of resources. Each action taken that is not in line with the larger goal violates the Integrity of one’s life. Optimizing one’s Integrity will afford them the maximum return on investment and will work toward the ideal combination of all of the parts and pieces. 

Further, by having a larger plan in place that bounds all actions those unbalanced actions will support the trend headed toward the peak of achievement.

Tying it Together

Integrity is the single Tenet that ties all of the other Tenets together. It is the driving undercurrent that makes the Initiated Lifestyle work. Without such Integrity toward a single vision, the Tenets will be disjointed and lacking the optimization to make the Initiated Lifestyle comprehensive. 

Integrity may be the most important Tenet to understand and implement as without it, one’s strategy will be plagued with inefficiencies and make the entire pursuit of the Lifestyle far harder than necessary. 

Integrity is required to optimize the strategy while the strategy is how one is going to get to that peak compilation of all of the Tenets. 

Build your life with Integrity and take advantage of the integration of efforts to compound the strength and potential each affords.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey 

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Accountability’s Shortfall

Accountability is touted as the end-all be-all answer, but here is one clear area for improvement.

“Accountability” is everywhere. Everyone must be held accountable. You must hold yourself accountable. You need to hold your teammates accountable. You should hold your boss accountable. 

I get it – the concept is important. The importance of holding people responsible for their words and actions cannot be understated. People should answer for their negligence, nonperformance, and transgressions and must stand behind their words and actions, own them, and face any consequences coming from them.

However, “accountability” is quickly becoming an overplayed idea; and worse yet, misapplied as the standard to resolve issues in areas of personal performance and behavior. Many say it; “accountability over everything”. It has become the marching orders of many individuals and corporations alike. 

There is one major flaw that we can improve upon, though.

What is Accountability

At its core, accountability simply states that people cannot act without having to answer for those actions. A code of acceptable conduct must be upheld and those that violate it must be held responsible. At its extreme, accountability is a thinly veiled threat.

Accountability’s largest handicap as an idea is that it is reactionary. Accountability requires that an act must first happen before there is an opportunity to work toward an answer. With this, accountability treats the symptoms of a larger problem rather than solve the problem itself; searching for answers rather than solutions. The solution to the root problem becomes secondary to holding the violating party accountable. Much like a game of Whack-a-Mole, the symptoms will continue to rear their heads requiring further accountability to smack them back down.

At best, accountability’s potential to be proactive is derived from one’s awareness that they may be held accountable for their actions. This knowledge may make them consider their actions before acting, but it may not. This approach is only marginally better than acting first and being held accountable later as the motivation to act correctly is not sound. These actions do not come from a place within oneself as dictated by an internal code of conduct, rather, it is the surroundings that are dictating the actions of the individual. 

Accountability exists outside of an individual – someone or something external to the individual assigns accountability. If a person does not recognize the authority of such surroundings, there is no hope for accountability to have any success in influencing behavior. Even when holding oneself accountable, this remains true (I’ll get to it).

A Two Party System

Accountability will forever be a two-party system. It defines a social dynamic in which one party must answer to another. One party must be accepted as an authority and the other party subservient to it; ie. those holding others accountable and those being held accountable, respectively. This is the fundamental principle that accountability is created upon. 

Two Parties When Holding Oneself Accountable

As stated above this two party concept still applies when holding oneself accountable. In such instances, there must be within a person an elevated version of themselves to which the current version is being held accountable. Those doughnuts and cupcakes must be answered for, the subsequent missed workout must be answered for, the laziness and netflix binge must be answered for; but to who? This elevated vision of what one should be is the authority providing the key piece of the accountability formula. 

The Alternative

550 words in and I have not offered a solution yet. Well, here it is.

There is more value in focusing on preventing the need for accountability – something that will prevent problems from surfacing to begin with. This alternate will empower individuals to take control back within themselves and exceed the expectations of their surroundings.

That alternate; that precursor to accountability is discipline.

Discipline is a far superior concept to accountability and what should instead be touted as the answer in matters of personal performance. As discipline comes from within rather than based on a judgement of the surroundings, there is unmatched consistency and power in its practice. It takes what was outsourced by accountability and brings it back within the individual. The individual does not need to answer to anyone because through discipline, there will be nothing to answer for.

Where accountability will step in and identify responsible parties, sequence of events, and succeed in pinpointing the exact entity responsible for the current situation, discipline could have prevented the situation from ever occurring, rendering accountability unnecessary. 

Solutions; Not Answers

Discipline is a solution rather than an answer; it will resolve the problems that accountability is hired to treat. Deadlines will be met, obstacles overcome, and progress made in whatever arena one is playing in. 

Accountability Isn’t Necessary Until Something Happens

The truth is no one thinks about accountability when everything goes right; and why would they? There is no reason to investigate for responsibility when the task has been completed. 

With this, why continue to tout accountability as the answer when discipline precedes it? 

Through focusing on discipline the finger-pointing inherent to accountability will disappear and the constructed hierarchy will cease to exist. It is a win in every category.

Discipline is what performs. Accountability pokes discipline in the eye when it has failed.

Forge discipline and rely on yourself. Stop relying on accountability. 

Yours in strength

-Jersey

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