Featured on the Hong Kong Economic Journal (September 17, 2015)
I had the privilege of listening to a world-renowned speaker last night by the name of Michael Ramsden from the UK. He is the Director of the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and he travels worldwide to speak on the topics of leadership, integrity, faith, commitment and a whole lot more. He has spoken at the White House in Washington DC, the NATO Headquarters and to political and business leaders around the world.
Last night, he was speaking on several topics and shared some thought-provoking ideas that got the whole crowd thinking. I was deeply inspired and thought I could share some of the things I learnt:
Integrity means that as a person, you are whole. Someone without integrity will act one way with some and another way with others. Having integrity means that you know who you are and what you stand for. Everyone stands for something and has their own 'code of ethics' and the question isn't whether someone is ethical or not, it's how far that code of ethics reaches. For example, does it just apply to family or to your immediate friends or to the wide society? Everyone believes in something and the question is how far-reaching that belief is. But more so than that, it's important to know what to do and where to go should one fail in having integrity. Without acknowledging and admitting one's failure, it could lead to guilt and shame. Speaking from his persecutive of faith, Michael shared that as Christians, we can turn to Jesus knowing that we are imperfect and that he can redeem us when we fail in integrity.
One other topic shared was the topic of 'calling' and how everyone has a calling on their lives. Everyone was created for a bigger purpose in life and part of living life is to live out one's calling. So often people do their jobs for the sake of making money just to be able to have shelter, food, clothing and education. But working for a calling is so much more than that. With a vision and a purpose of what one has to do in one's life, allows one to see the bigger picture and pursue something greater. Everyone will have a different calling in different arenas of work and it is for that person to see the purpose and calling for their own life. When someone doesn't have a calling, it is easy to take short cuts because the goal is just to make a living; but when the goal is to achieve something greater, one will choose to live with integrity.
This is a core value that we have sidelined, misunderstood or lost in our communities today. The main issue is that we have the misconception that to respect someone, we must agree with them; and to disagree with someone is to disrespect them. We've forgotten the phrase that we can "agree to disagree" and to show respect to others just for the sake that they are fellow human beings. Borrowing the quote from Pastor Rick Warren, author of Purpose Driven Life, disagreeing with someone's opinion doesn't warrant a personal attack on the person. It is possible and necessary to stand by our convictions whilst still giving respect and extending compassion to those around us.
If we had people in our communities who knows their calling, exercise their leadership with integrity and show respect to those around them, this world would be a much better and more harmonious place. And isn't that the wish for all of us?