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Issue 118 - There is No Pillow as Soft as a Clear Conscience

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 3 Issue 118
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login




This French proverb was a favorite of Coach Wooden's because it relates to a character trait he thought was essential: integrity.
In his book Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks for a Better Life, with Jay Carty, Coach put it this way:
Integrity in its simplest form is purity of intention. It's keeping a clear conscience.
The importance and benefits of a clear conscience have been described many ways. Here are a few of my favorites:
A person cannot be comfortable without their own approval. - Mark Twain
Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world. - George Bernard Shaw
You can out-distance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you. - Rwandan Proverb
When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion. - Abraham Lincoln
Conscience has been defined as: an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment that assists in distinguishing right from wrong.
In his book, The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership, with Steve Jamison, Coach responds to the most fundamental question related to conscience:
What is right? That's the real question.
A robber may believe it is right to rob; a politician may believe it is right to accept favors for influence; a man may believe the end justifies the means; all tyrants believe they are right. What is right? This question is one you must ask and answer.
To what should you be true?
These questions go to the heart of who you are as a person, to your character and integrity, to how you treat people. What is right? What is your answer?
Let me pass along Dad's rule for behaving in an ethical manner -doing what is right. It is simple, to the point and free of hyperbole.
For me it has been the touchstone I return to whenever I seek to answer any question involving integrity, ethics or character.
Here is Dad's simple guide for knowing what is right: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
George Bernard Shaw tells a great story that is a helpful guide on how to stay on the right path:
A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.
When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied: the one I feed the most.
Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry




I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know;

I want to be able as days go by
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I've done.

I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of a man I really am;
I don't want to dress myself up in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men's respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf,
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to think as I come and go
That I'm bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me,
I see what others may never see,
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself --- and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free

Edgar A. Guest 





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