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Being Honest and Open

My grandparents believed that you were either honest or you were not. There was no middle ground. They had a simple saying hanging on their living-room wall: "Life is like a field of newly fallen snow. Where I choose to walk every step will show." They didn't have to talk about it; they demonstrated this truth in their lifestyle.

They understood instinctively that integrity involves having a personal standard of morality and boundaries that does not sell out to convenience and that is not relative to the situation at hand. Integrity is an inner compass for judging your behavior.

Unfortunately, integrity is in short supply today—and getting scarcer. But it is the real bottom line in every area of society and a discipline we must demand of ourselves.

A good test for this value is to apply what I call the "Integrity Triangle", which consists of three key principles:

Stand firmly for your convictions when confronted with personal pressure. There's a story told about a surgical nurse's assistance during her first day on the medical team at a well-known hospital. She was responsible for ensuring that all surgical instruments and materials were accounted for during an operation. The nurse said to the surgeon, "You've only removed 11 sponges, and we used 12. We need to find the last one."

"I removed them all," the surgeon assured her. "We'll close now." "You can't do that, sir," protested the nurse. "Think of the patient."

Smiling, the surgeon lifted his foot and showed the nurse the twelfth sponge. "You'll do just fine in this or any other hospital," he assured her.

When you know you're right, you can't concede.

Always give others credit that is rightfully theirs. Don't be afraid of those who might have a better idea or who might even be more intelligent than you are.

David Ogilvy, founder of the advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather, clarified this point to his newly appointed office heads by sending each of them a Russian nesting doll with five progressively smaller figures inside.

His message was contained in the smallest doll: If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, Ogilvy & Mather will become a company of giants. And that is precisely what O & M became—one of the largest and most respected advertising organizations in the world.


我祖父母认为,一个人要么诚实,要么不诚实,两者之间没有折中可言。在他们起居室的墙上挂着一句朴实无华的格言:“生活如新雪覆盖的大地,走过之处必定留下足迹。”他们没有必要去用语言作出解释, 因为他们用自己的生活方式印证了这一真理。










Be honest and open about who you really are. People who lack genuine core values rely on external factors—their looks or status—in order to feel good about themselves. Inevitably they will do everything they can to preserve this false mask, but they will do very little to enhance their inner value and personal growth.

So be yourself. Don't engage in a personal cover-up of areas that are unpleasing in your life. " Tough times never last but tough people do," says Robert Schuller. In other words, face reality and be mature in your responses to life's challenges.

Self-respect and a clear conscience are powerful components of integrity and are the basis for enriching your relationships with others. Integrity means you do what you do because it's right and not just fashionable or politically correct. A life of principle, of not yielding to the tempting attractions of an easy morality, will always win the day. It will take you forward into the twenty-first century without having to check your tracks in a rear-view mirror. My grandparents taught me that.

Background Information

1. Term paper and essay assistance websites

Collegiate Care, now known as Essays Now, is an online company that sells term papers online from its database of over 70,000 reports and essays. According to its website, the company is one of the first term paper assistance companies on the Internet, beginning in 1996. Today it is one of the largest research assistance companies on the Internet. Genius Papers is yet another online company that sells high school and college term papers through its website. The other two websites mentioned in the passage, Term Paper Emporium and Absolutely Free: Online Essays, used to offer similar services and are now defunct.

2. Hamlet

Hamlet is the main hero in the famous tragedy of Hamlet written by Shakespeare. Hamlet, a Danish prince encouraged by his father's ghost, is considering getting even with his uncle and mother for his father's murder when a trick set up by his uncle leads to the death of all three of them.

3. Jane Morrison & TA

Jane Morrison is identified in the article as a Teaching




Assistant (TA). A TA is a student who helps a university professor with teaching duties such as grading papers, advising students, and proctoring examinations, etc.

4. Berkeley

Berkeley in the text refers to University of California (US University), Berkeley. The university is renowned for the size and quality of its libraries (with a collection of more than 7 million volumes) and laboratories, the scope of its research and publications, and the distinction of its faculty and students.


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