30 Aug 2011

Andy Rutledge is a designer who is one of those capital ‘t’ Talented individuals and when he writes, it is often with all the same force of a lightning strike:

When and if someone tries to lead you away from responsibility you must immediately recognize it for what it is: corruption. Expediency is not something toward which to aspire or with which to find accord. Avoid it in favor of what your values make clear is right. But be careful of how you characterize your values: If you are true, it’s a lie unless you are ever true. If you are responsible, it’s a lie unless you are ever responsible. If you have integrity, it’s a lie unless you avoid compromise and corruption at every step. If you offer value, it’s a lie unless your character describes you as entirely reliable.

Andy is demanding of himself nothing short of constant vigilance; a perpetual commitment to honor the ideals that he believes to be captial ‘t’ Truths. He values, above all else, the agreement he has made with his partners and co-workers. How many of us could say that we likewise live, unerringly, in line with our own personal moralities?

As technology advances and we grow in our ability to transform the physical into the digital it becomes ever more possible for us to overcome the barriers that once made the world so vast: words that used to take weeks or months to travel the distances between cities can now be shared in real time; we are but a Google search away from the complete works of Shakespeare, of Joyce, of Poe; and with a few keystrokes, we can explore the Cappella Sistina and marvel at The Last Judgement of Michelangelo. With the internet, convenience becomes the norm for our society and we begin to expect our entire life to follow suit.

That desire for expediency is dangerous, if only because it encourages us to focus on the end result instead of the process itself. This is not to say that you should eschew all material pursuits, but instead a reminder that how you achieve your goals is as important as what your goals are and whether they are ever realized. This becomes more obvious when you honestly analyze your objectives and realize that you have misfired completely. 1

Your personal integrity matters. It matters almost more than anything else in the world, for if you lose yourself you’ve lost your ability to bring value to your relationships and work. Never let someone lead you away from your integrity; not for money, not for experience, not for affirmation. If your integrity has a price, you never had it to begin with.

  1. And in case you were curious, this is not a preachy manifesto aimed outward. Andy’s post hit particularly close to home and to publish is to publically admit just how close it was.