If you don’t have integrity, I don’t want you ANYWHERE near my world.
I have no time for you. PERIOD.
That was the world I lived in.
“World” isn’t an accurate description. That’s far too generous.
It was more like a prison.
The world is huge.
A prison is very, very small.
Nobody put me in my tiny prison. I did it myself. I locked myself there for far too long.
That prison negated too much of my hard work and talent. It limited my opportunities. It blinded me to even seeing many opportunities that came my way. It made my chances of ever experiencing a better overall quality of life much slimmer.
I just didn’t realize it. It made perfect sense to me.
I’ve set myself free though. My world has expanded significantly.
I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned. If you’re a lot like me, this single message will be worth at least 1,000 times the money you’ve invested in this book and the precious time you’ll invest in reading it. This will be especially true when you make that evaluation as more time passes. As time stacks up, so will its power.
I know that I’m making a gigantic promise.
I write that confidently.
I’m willing to risk the character quality that’s most important to me:
I also write that humbly.
I realize that it will all depend on how receptive you are to this message.
My hope and my prayer is that it will penetrate past any resistance that you may have. I do understand that resistance might not have anything to do with me. I know. I had that resistance in the past.
If you’re like me, it just may just be your current view of the world and the people who live in it. These views may have developed a long time ago without you being totally aware of it.
If you’re a lot like me, I’ll need you to consider what I call your “Integrity Gap Illusion-Delusion.”
This is how I describe it:
It’s the way you see other people when it comes to integrity compared to the way you see yourself. This creates a gap. The wider the gap, the more disappointed you’ll be in other people. The more they’ll tend to let you down. The more you’ll expect other people to let you down.
Everything we do in life has benefits. If what we did didn’t benefit us in some way, shape, or form, we wouldn’t do it. This is something I’ll point out over and over again.
It feels good to believe that you always choose to do the “right” things in life. It feels good to believe that you always choose to take the moral high ground. This is especially true when you aren’t getting the results in life that you want as quickly as you want. At least you feel good about yourself as a person. When you see other people succeed at levels greater than you, you feel better knowing that at least you are superior to them in the integrity department.
Now, none of this my be true. It may only be true in our own imaginations. It certainly may not be true when we judge other people’s actions, intentions, or integrity. It may not even be necessarily true about ourselves in all cases. We may be more “human” than we realize. We may be more “human” than we want to admit.
Coming to these conclusions about other people and ourselves gives us a sense of certainty. The world can be a confusing place. Figuring out the patterns and “cracking the codes” to success and happiness is always a challenge. The more certainty we have, the more in control we feel. We feel in control even if we’re not getting the results in life that we really want. We feel in control even if we need to create our “reality” about other people and ourselves.
The way we choose to look at other people and ourselves when it comes to integrity definitely serves a purpose though. There’s no doubt about it.
I didn’t always realize this but I didn’t have much faith in people. I wasn’t trusting enough. In my eyes, people would constantly let me down. That’s just the way that people were. I expected it. I accepted it. I was prepared. I wasn’t disappointed when it happened.
What I didn’t realize was that I imagined most of what I perceived. Of course, not all of it. I realize that not everyone in this world has the best intentions all of the time. But I did limit my options in life because of the way I imagined how the world worked and how people acted in it. I didn’t seize opportunities. I wasn’t as resourceful and gritty when I was faced with the same challenges many people are forced to deal with. My brain usually turned off at the first signs another person’s perception of events were different than mine.
Was I, myself, really living with as much integrity as I have always imagined? Was I more “human” than I wanted to believe? When I didn’t come through for someone who counted on me, did I chalk that up to just being normal? Nobody’s perfect, you know. When I decided to go a different direction than what I decided on earlier and it involved other people’s hopes and dreams, was I justified because everyone is entitled to change their mind when more information is available? When I made flat out, unintentional, honest mistakes that negatively impacted the lives of other people, did I rationalize the fact that nobody’s perfect?
Most importantly, did I extend that empathy and understanding that I gave to myself to other people too?
I realized that I wasn’t being consistent.
I was being far too judgmental with the definition of integrity when it came to other people. I wasn’t being fair to them. I see that clearly now.
I was being far too generous with the definition of integrity when it came to me. I was being too easy on myself. I see that clearly now too.
That’s the gap.
The gap was huge.
The gap was just an illusion.
For me, the gap was a delusion.
That gap created a wide range of challenges that made earning a life of success and happiness much more challenging. It made creating deep and trusting connections with other people almost impossible. It crippled my imagination to create many ways to win especially when it came to counting on other people. Here’s something that I finally realized: A person’s level of success and happiness will always come down to his or her relationships with other people.
No matter what I want to think or how much I want to control my own circumstances, my success and happiness will always ultimately be determined by how effectively I can deal with other people.
Now that I’ve brought this to your attention, you’ll see this play out several times a day on social media.
There will always be someone who publicly questions the integrity of someone else who makes a lot of money. They’ll tell you that person’s money was made unethically. They’ll tell you that their intentions were selfish in a very bad way. They’ll tell you that they, themselves, would never choose to make money the way that person did.
That’s when they usually throw in “I’d rather live in a homeless shelter than make money the way they did!” Always notice when a person resorts to the “I’d rather this than that” line of reasoning. It’s always something presented in a ridiculously extreme manner. It’s a sure sign of a limited, “black and white” thinker. Of course, there are thousands of better options in life besides living in a homeless shelter and making money unethically.
There will always be people who question the integrity of someone who appears to be in a great, loving relationship. They’ll tell you that one or both people aren’t really the people they’re trying to get you to believe. They’ll tell you that the couple isn’t as happy as they want you to think. They might even add that it’s just a matter of time before they’re exposed and the rest of the world will figure them out too.
“I’d rather spend the rest of my life alone than be in a relationship like that!” they’ll proudly tell you hoping you’ll exclude the dozens of better options that are available too.
In the fitness world where I’ve spent a large part of my life, they’ll tell you that the person with an incredible body did it with the help of drugs and they’re just not being honest about their drug use. If they’re not questioning the person’s integrity that way, they do their best to convince you that he or she got that body because they’re a narcissist or have some other mental or emotional shortcoming.
“I’d rather have a terrible body than live a lie like them!” they’ll tell you. What about the dozens of better options they could imagine but refuse to or can’t?
This is a very effective strategy. It’s incredibly influential. You’ll notice that plenty of people will agree with those questioning others. In marketing, it’s sometimes referred to as the “throw rocks at your enemies” persuasion strategy.
Who isn’t against those low life people who lack integrity? We all love to throw rocks at them.
Even if we chose to focus on the rare, worst case scenario.
Even if we used our imagination to describe them.
Even if it’s an illusion.
Even if it’s a delusion.
I can’t climb into anyone’s mind and tell you what their true intentions are. No one can. No one has that power no matter what they might think.
I choose not to believe that they are trying to intentionally manipulate other people to agree with their point-of-view for unethical reasons.
My imagination suspects they are experiencing the Integrity Gap Illusion-Delusion.
I’ve explained the benefits. The question is what is it ultimately costing them?
There’s a quote from the American King James Bible that’s fits this message perfectly:
“Whoever you are that judge: for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself.”
Many people think this means that you shouldn’t judge other people because they’ll end up judging you in return. It doesn’t. Maybe people will judge you. Maybe they won’t. Someone’s belief in karma has nothing to do with it.
When you judge other people, your fate could be much worse.
I’ll explain why.
Most people believe that the way they see the world is the “right” way to see it. We believe we’re smart. We believe we’re logical.
If a smart and logical person like them makes those assumptions about other people’s integrity, actions, and even intentions, so will a lot of other smart and logical people.
A person can’t help but think that other people are making those same assumptions about them. How can they not? Now, that would be delusional.
They’ve tied themselves in unnecessary beliefs and rules. They’ll worry about other people questioning their integrity.
Sure, this can be true in some cases. But it’s mostly created in the imagination of the person who constantly judges the integrity of others.
Success and happiness is challenging enough without constantly battling this Integrity Gap Illusion-Delusion.
Their worst fear is that other people will question their integrity. Without realizing it, too many of their decisions in life are made trying to prevent their worst fear from ever happening. It becomes their “Landmine.” I’ll explain this concept in great detail later in this book.
That was certainly my challenge. I became the “world’s best kept secret” because I was so afraid to push selling my thoughts, ideas, and services too far. Being influential was too dangerously close to being one of those sleazy salesmen. That was my “landmine” and I was always terribly afraid to step on it. That would mean ultimate pain to me. I unconsciously did everything possible to avoid stepping on that landmine.
It’s incredibly difficult to sell your thoughts, ideas, and services when you’re so afraid you’ll step on your personal, emotional landmine. What makes it even more frustrating is when you work harder and longer and you still aren’t getting the results you want. You can’t figure out why you aren’t getting any closer to the success and happiness that you feel you deserve.
But that’s my experience.
My mission in life is helping men with the same strengths and shortcomings as me. I am determined to help men learn the valuable lessons that I’ve learned. I am determined to help them avoid the painful experiences that caused me to suffer.
Through my private, one-on-coaching, I help men all over the world break through and earn the lives they really want. I’m committed to this mission more than anything I accomplished with my physical body.
Whether they realize it or not, many of the men who are like me battle with this Integrity Gap Illusion-Delusion. Just about all of them have been receptive and have entertained this idea.
Every so often, one will direct his lack of trust toward me. In their eyes, there’s nothing I can do to live up to their integrity expectations.
In their eyes, I’ve let them down. They’ve locked me in their tiny prison and it’s a real challenge to ever let me out of it.
It hurts like hell.
I’m not going to soften the intense pain I feel as I describe it to you.
I’ve worked with dozens of men and have logged in thousands of hours doing my best to help them. I’m a big boy. I know what I’m potentially getting into when I agree to take them on as a client.
I understand. I can’t judge. I can’t give up on them.
I’ve done it myself. As I’ve previously stated, I’ve blown many potentially amazing opportunities. I’ve blown it with incredible mentors and really good people who genuinely wanted to help me.
I do my best not to take it personally.
I’ll NEVER give up on my men.
I’ve made it to this other side.
The huge world that I live in now is a much better place to live. There’s so much more room to grow.
They can too, no matter how things may appear at the time.
So can you, if you are challenged in the same ways.
I’m certain of this.
I bravely risk my integrity on this.
Skip La Cour
It’s A Matter Of Trust: Confessions of a Recovering Bodybuilder
P.S. If this book passage moved you, make sure you read all of the others I posted too. Reach out to me after you do. Send me an email at [email protected]. Or, fill out the questionnaire at the bottom of each passage and submit it to me.
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