moral compass

Developing a Moral Compass: 21 Standards to Live and Work By

Here we are at the beginning of a New Year. In a lot of blogs across the web regarding business and self development, you’ll be seeing a lot of posts talking about planning your upcoming year.

I’m going to change it up just a bit here. Instead of giving you yet another one of those posts (which I have done my fair share), I wanted to focus more on having a good mindset to start out the new year.

Because, really, when you think about it, planning and reflection shouldn’t just be a particular once a year activity. It should be ongoing.

That being the case, one can talk about doing these things until you’re blue in the face. But if you don’t have the right Attitude or “Lattitude” as the podcast would suggest, you’re not going to be getting too far.

You need a moral compass.

So here’s a post originally from March 20th, 2011. When I first heard the information, it really helped me out of my funk. Not only that, but it was one of those pieces of knowledge that set me on my current trajectory.

I hope it does the same for you!


So here’s a question for you. What’s holding you back? What is the main problem that keeps you from achieving whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve? Have an idea? Ok. Now let’s see if you agree with one of these next sentences. It’s someone else’s fault. Someone else got the promotion. Someone else got first place in the last tournament.

But is that really the reason why or is it that you beat yourself? Through all the conversations I’ve had over the years (including the podcast) it seems that there’s one main reason they’ve failed. Up to a point, they believed that to be successful, you had to work by beating the competition.

What we’ve found is this simply isn’t the case. To be successful in life, you simply have to beat the you of yesterday. That’s really one of the keys of success. A mentality of “If not today, then when?” or “Don’t put off ’til tomorrow what you can accomplish today.”

Back when I was active member of LTD, we had a subscription to a weekly CD called the Continued Education Program (CEP). Many times the topics that were covered relate to business development itself, but more often than not, most of the time it relates to living a successful life in general. (Side note: you can’t be successful in one thing without being able to be successful in another. The rules and laws of success transfer.) One example is a CD I was listening to by Joe Markiewics. In it he talks about something that I think definitely needs to be brought up to the front of my things to write about – Standards to Live By.

In my Freemason studies, one of the things that I’ve also come across is the idea of the ashlar block. At first it starts out as a rough ashlar, but after the work of educated workmen it becomes what is known as a perfect ashlar. In construction, a perfect ashlar is a standardized building block that is then used to build reliable structures with.

So with that said, how does one become a perfect ashlar? How do we become a part of a community in which others can trust them to be valuable part of the community? It all starts with standards. If you want to be successful in life, then I suggest you determine your own standards. With a bit of help from Joe in reminding me, here are standards that I try to live by:

1.) No one person is more important than another, the group as a whole, or the vision of that group.

If one person thinks that they’re better than the next guy and causes problems, then that person can and should be left behind. If you ever get the chance to study a pack of dogs (via Dog Whisperer), notice what happens when one starts acting weird. The others start noticing right away and soon leave it behind. In a pack of wolves who have to hunt to survive, unpredictable behavior can not be tolerated.

2.) No excuses.

If something isn’t done, it’s not done. Period. “Do or do not, there is no try.”

3.) Never complain.

I know that things aren’t fair and they may hurt your feelings, but it’s not for you or me to retaliate in complaining. Just do better next time. Make your reasons to not do something your reasons to do it.

4.) No weak faces.

This means no bad body language. In a sports team, if one member drops the ball repeatedly because their head is not in the game, can they ever be trusted to actually catch it and be a go to guy of the team? All it takes is one person to feel sorry for themselves and the rest of the team falls apart. Don’t lose your poise.

5.) Be unselfish.

There are other people. Make sure they get their share as well.

6.) Positive mental attitude (PMA) at all times.

Learn what to say when you talk to yourself. “I can do this. I just got to figure out how!”

7.) Never talk negatively about somebody behind their back.

Never gossip for gossiping sake or for small talk. If you feel you have to be negative, only be constructive about it and do it in a manner that is not mean or backhanded. State only the facts. Use the sandwich method.

8.) People matter – care about them.

If there’s someone sitting by themselves in a group setting, go be a friend to them. Invite them into your group. Offer to do something for them. (When my mom passed, I got more cards from LTD members than from any other group. I haven’t opened them yet, but I really truly appreciate them!)

9.) Be a giver – go the extra mile.

Be a giver with time, friendship, and money when and where possible.

10.) Be enthusiastic.

Have fun! It brings energy to people you’re with and rewards them in being with you. Never mail it in.

11.) Edify all success.

Promote and congratulate people for all levels of success. People like to be noticed – they probably do the same back to you.

12.) Be committed to people you team up with.

Have each other’s back. Pray for each other when they’re having troubles.

13.) Be honest all the time.

Your word is your worth; your worth is your word.

14.) Personal conduct.

If you wouldn’t do it in front of your family or people you work with, then why do you think you should do it all by yourself? Don’t be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Remember there should never be double standards – ever. You don’t need to give people a reason to be skeptical of you – especially if they’re not a trusting person to begin with.

15.) Take personal responsibility for your decisions and actions.

This is something that is taught to kids early on. Why would it change as an adult? It’s not the alcohols fault you were drunk. It was your fault you were drunk and yours alone.

16.) Be accountable

Especially to those that are important to you. This includes friends and family. (If you’re at all spiritual or religious, don’t forget God.)

17.) Collective responsibility.

Aka Unity with your group. You win together, you lose together. It’s not the failure of one person on the team to fail, it’s the teams. (Example – it’s not the kicker’s fault he missed the last chance field goal, it was the team’s fault for putting him in a position where it was up to him to be the clutch guy. Ask Peyton Manning about this one…)

18.) Preparation

If you don’t prepare to win, you don’t deserve to win.

19.) Pride

Have pride in what you do and who you are. Be proud of your lineage. Be proud of your work ethic.

20.) Never settle for good. Go for the great.

No matter what happens, you have not arrived. Never settle for what you have now because you can always be better. Success only gives you a platform to be a motivator and helper of others. Create a vacuum of inspiration.

21.) Perform to your standards at all times.

So there are my standards. I’ll admit, I don’t live up to them all the time – I’m not perfect. But I don’t go out of my way to break them either. What are some standards that you’ve set in place that work for you and you work towards them?

Action Steps

There have been many times where I thought the rest of the world would profit quite a bit from the things I learned during my time in LTD. Many of the topics that were discussed were very eye opening. This was definitely one of those lessons.

Let me hear from you. What principles do you use regularly in your day to day life? They can be your own or items from this list.

Leave a Reply

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply