Letter to my daughter– Why integrity is important for success
To my dearest Nicole,
This pandemic has caused a lot of disruption. It is already September, yet you had your much-delayed virtual graduation only a few weeks ago. Under normal circumstances, your graduation would have already been completed in summer and you would now be attending classes in the university as a college freshman.Nevertheless, I would like you to know that your dad and I are enormously proud of you. Although I am a little sad that you did not graduate with any honors because you decided to move to home schooling last year, I am happy that you have no regrets because you are more concerned about learning than getting awards that you would have otherwise received had you stayed in a traditional school. As you start a new chapter of your life, I would like to remind you the importance of having integrity. Having integrity means being honest and doing what is right, even though it is inconvenient or disadvantageous. It also means admitting you are wrong when you are wrong and accepting the consequences of wrong decisions.Although you are only starting your college life, it amuses me that you are already strategizing on how to graduate with Latin honors. I know you will do the work that is necessary to achieve your goal but I am sure there will be times when you will be tempted to cheat or plagiarize. I want you to realize that if you graduate with honors by being dishonest, you do not deserve it. And instead of making us proud, you will make us feel ashamed because it would mean we have failed as your parents to teach you of what is right.When you start working, you will realize that being smart and having good grades are not enough to guarantee success. They will only help you put your foot in the door. Acting with integrity and being trustworthy are more important.
I did not graduate with any honors, and because of this, I had a hard time looking for a job. However, when I started working as an analyst, I worked hard in improving my skills—both technical skills and soft skills. I also made it a point to put the interest of others, led by our clients, ahead of my own.
When I write research reports, I do my best to come up with objective and well supported views on listed companies and the stock market. This is a discipline that I make sure that everyone in our research team practices. Sometimes, our views can be unpopular, causing us to lose business. Sometimes, we make mistakes and stocks behave differently from what we thought they would do. However, our clients appreciate the honesty and objectivity of our views, and this helped us earn their loyalty and respect. Occasionally, I would be given tasks that are hard or inconvenient and are beyond my job description. I would gladly accept them knowing that they would benefit our clients. In hindsight, these challenges helped me in my career by making me more knowledgeable and well-rounded. It also allowed me to build relationships with people. Over time, acting with integrity helped me earn the trust of people and I believe it is this trust that is mainly responsible for making me what I am today. Because people trust me, they listen to what I have to say and give me important roles that require greater responsibility. This trust is not something that can be earned by smart but unethical people.Warren Buffett, a very successful investor, had this to say about smart but unethical people. “Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it, it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”
When you start looking for a job a few years from now, do not just focus on how much the company is willing to pay. Rather, look for a company that is run by people who have good values and sells products and services that you believe in. That way, you do not have to compromise your beliefs to succeed. You will also find it easier to do your job because you know that the product you are selling will really help the people who buy them.Sharing the same vision of helping Filipinos become rich, by teaching them how to save and invest is the main reason why I have remained loyal to my employer COL Financial. Although my job is sometimes difficult, I find fulfillment in knowing that what I am doing is helping Filipinos achieve their goal of becoming financially independent. Ultimately, I believe that God is sovereign and that he will bless you for acting with integrity. Proverbs 11:3 says, “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.” Always remember that money is not the only measure of success. There are a lot of rich people who are miserable, which is ironic because most people think that becoming rich will make them happy. I thought so too when I was young, but now I know otherwise.
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