There isn’t a day that doesn’t pass us that we aren’t bombarded by bullshit. The constant barrage of white lies, blame, excuses and unfulfilled promises. With the prevalence of social media, it has never been so easy to be a bullshitter. We can hide behind our profiles and remove our face and voice from the equation. Unfortunately, because there is so much bullshit in the world, we have a hard time escaping it.
I recently had a conversation with my son about integrity. He had been getting into the nasty habit of telling us he was going to do something and then when the time came to do it, he would make excuses not to do it, or postpone doing it for another time. Another life lesson taught to a child who in on the cusp of carving out his place in the world. If I show him anything in this life, it will be to live with integrity and to avoid the bullshit.
After the conversation with my son, I had some time to reflect on what integrity really means to me and why it is so difficult to avoid bullshit. In a hyper-connected world, our time has never been so much in demand. We are requested to be in more places, to do more things and to be “on” so much more than ever before. On top of it all, because we crave belonging without disappointing others, we have a hard time saying no. Finding that balance between what you can do and what you don’t want to do and then balancing that on top of what you say you are going to do and what you actually do is quite hard. We don’t want to cause pain onto others, and we don’t want to be in pain ourselves, so we bullshit ourselves out of the situations to save ourselves.
Integrity is what we value most in people, it is the safety mechanism that leverages trust in a relationship. When someone values their integrity and places honesty over bullshit, we gravitate toward them. It is natural for us to do that when we can trust someone, we know that when the chips are down, they will be there to pick them back up for us. It comes down to basic survival when someone is full of shit, we have no use for them.
So how do you live in a bullshit world? Stop spreading it. There is no other way around it. Do what you say you will do even if it is the last thing you want to do. Find purpose in the time spent building your integrity. It takes a long time to build integrity in your life and one wrong decision to destroy it.
Life has taught me that the more integrity I have, the more I get from my life. Most people struggle in life merely because they do not place their highest values on their integrity and the integrity of others. They seem to gravitate towards bullshit, and it just seems to find them. Once they get caught up in it, they lose all value in themselves and others until they spiral into the abyss of depression.
Like the old saying goes: “If you don’t have your word, you have nothing… but bullshit.”