The last three Guiding Principles of a man who wants to be a class act are closely related so we will wrap up our discussion with all three.
5. I am slow to anger - I stay calm cool and collected, and I will learn when it’s appropriate to let the dogs out
Uncontrolled anger is one of the greatest enemies of a classy person. It isn’t the objective to rid one’s self of anger because anger is a legitimate God given emotional drive. The objective is learning how to appropriately use anger. It is needless to say that a fit of anger completely spoils an otherwise classy demeanor. Emotions are hard to control, and some find it even more difficult than others. But even when you are angry at someone, you will want to remain calm so you don’t say or do something you’ll regret. Take a break and walk away if you can’t do it in the moment. Don’t let your emotions rule your life and ruin your relationships.
If anger is a God given drive, apparently it has a purpose. Anger alerts us for the need to take care because there may be a threat. It should make us angry when someone (including you) is being mistreated, and drive us to come to their aid if possible. Caution is to be taken when offering help if the altercation is domestic in nature.
Anger prepares us to take defensive action to protect ourselves and others when necessary. When there is no threat or no danger involved, retaliation or defensive action is unnecessary. When someone says angry and unkind words to you, it isn’t necessary to further provoke the situation by lowering yourself to their level and responding with your own unkind words. A better response, if any at all, would be: I’m sorry you feel that way. A still better response is to walk away. If it is necessary to discuss the matter, it is better delayed until anger subsides.
6. I can be influenced and taught by others, but not controlled by their opinions or actions and
7. I am a man of integrity - I never compromise my integrity.
Part of being a class act is always be improving who you are. This means that you are in a learning mode most of the time. You will surround yourself with those who are smarter than you, and better than you, and consider what they say and do, so that you can learn from them. You'll probably also learn what NOT to say, and NOT to do.
You’ll need to be mindful of the influences you let into your life - people, social media outlets, TV, movies, and other things you watch and listen to. If your friends are not the class act you want to be, consider seeking out new friendships. If you find yourself cussing after watching certain movies, pick something else. There are plenty of great shows out there that can actually inspire you, teach you and entertain you without compromising who you are and who are you aspiring to be. Think about it - if you want to be a better guitar player, do you listen to crap guitarists? No - you listen to those that can make you better. It’s no different with anything else that you see and hear. Each one influences you in some way. What and who do you want to be influencing your life, your decisions, your career, your marriage, your parenting? Influence is all around us - screaming at us every day. We can and should make choices about the ones we spend time listening to and allowing to affect our lives and our thinking.
If you’re going to be responsible for your own choices, and not find yourself controlled by others’ opinions and actions, then you have to spend some time thinking about stuff, and less time listening to social media. Give yourself some margin in life - some time you’re not doing anything but thinking. Look at situations up and down, in and out. If you don’t understand something, ask a trusted friend. Read a book. Find a mentor. If you have no opinions of your own, it’s going to be hard not to be controlled by the opinions of others.
When your friends or coworkers suggest to you something that is a compromise of some sorts, consider your own integrity. Consider what is important to you and what your driving force(s) is. If you’re a man of integrity, you simply cannot compromise it. If it’s a company rule that seems to need to be broken, go about it the right way. Meet with your superior about it, with an attitude of humility, and inquire about the possibility of changing it. Be ready with a good reason why it should be changed, and you never know - you might be the driving force behind change. But you can’t stand firm on that request or need for change if you haven’t thought about it, inside and out. About why a rule (or whatever) is there in the first place, like a safety issue or something, and what could happen if the rule changed for instance.
You are responsible to have the say in what you do or not do. Never go along with the crowd just to be included if it is something you don’t wish to be a part of. It may not be popular to go a different way, but a Maverick Man will never compromise his integrity just to please somebody else or to be popular.
If your friends are all about a political candidate because of this or that thing that they are “for”, you need to know where you stand. There have been presidential candidates that I was against, initially, but after listening to the opinions of those I respected, and doing some research of my own, I have been known to change my position. But in that case, I was influenced by my friends, yes. But the consequences of my vote is still on me. Because I chose to vote a certain way, in this case. If you buy into an idea, a tenet, a decision, or whatever, make sure you’ve considered the outcome and/or consequences of it - both ways - if you don't go with it and if you do. If you haven’t seen the classic film 12 Angry Men with Henry Fonda (1957) - found on Amazon Prime, you’ll do yourself a favor to watch it. One man on a hung jury had a different opinion than the other 11. He took a lot of flack for it to but he stood his ground for the right reasons.
Part of having the say in what you do or don’t do is taking responsibility when your choice was wrong. You can check your motives when this happens, but the fact is that you simply won’t get it right every time. So when you don’t, be a class act, and admit where you’re wrong or where you wronged somebody and make it right. Being able to admit your faults when you’re NOT in control earns you respect.
Integrity is “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcome.” The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer, whole or complete. Perhaps not all realize that morals are a part of integrity. Having solid morals not only show respect for others, but also for one’s self. Good morals are an important part of honesty. Honesty is always truthful - it never lies and never deceives. As you can see from this definition, integrity is a primary asset of being a class act.
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