“He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.” Walter Lippmann
I would hope that everyone has some sort of a code of ethics which helps them as they maneuver through life. As Albert Camus once said, “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.” My favorite television show is NCIS and the leading character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs has 51 rules which he lives by. I don’t have as many as Gibbs, but I do have a few, and they are things that I adhere to strictly. I figured maybe if I shared them, it would help people understand me a bit better. So here they are, Neal’s 10 Guidelines for Life. Disregard their numerical order, as they are all of equal importance to me.
1. Do not make a promise you have no intention of keeping. A man’s word is his honor, and if you cannot keep your promises, then you have no honor.
2. There are three things in life that you must earn; a paycheck, my trust, and my respect. Whether or not you get paid I have no control over, but if you want my trust or my respect you had best prove that you are worthy of them.
3. Nothing in life is free. Just because you got something free of charge, SOMEONE had to work for it.
4. I am a citizen of the United States of America. I love my country and if you live here you should too. If you do not, if you cannot respect our laws, our customs, and learn our language, you don’t belong here. We should not be required to change OUR ways to accommodate YOU!
5. Society doesn’t owe you a damn thing. Charity is fine, but you cannot demand that anyone be required to give of what they have earned to support you because you have not applied yourself, because you have not exercised a certain amount of responsibility for your own life.
6. Vows and oaths should not be taken unless you are willing to uphold them. When you swear an oath, or take a vow, you should honor them. If you have no intention of honoring them, you should not take them to begin with. This especially applies to marriage vows. If you cannot remain faithful to your spouse, you should not get married.
7. If you are going to do a job, do it to the best of your ability. I see far too many people who expect a paycheck just because they show up for work. If you aren’t willing to give 100% in the performance of your job the person who employs you should not be expected to give you a cent for a half assed effort.
8. My property, my family, and my rights are mine and you have no right to threaten any of them. I will defend them all with my life, and I will take yours if you are foolish enough to threaten them.
9. Opinions are like assholes and armpits; everyone has them and somebody always thinks that yours stink. I have the right to speak my mind at any time, upon any subject. I do not subscribe to the politically correct belief that I should not speak concerning certain issues because the things I say may offend someone. If you don’t like what I say, don’t listen. I probably don’t like what you are saying either, but you don’t hear me crying like a little baby about it. Grow up!
10. It is better to remain silent and let people think you are a fool, than to open your mouth and prove them right. It is all well and good to have discussions, and even disagreements, with people. But if you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, it is better that you keep your mouth shut before someone who does makes you sound like a fool.
There you have it, Neal’s 10 guidelines for life. You may not share all of them, or any of them for that matter, but hopefully they will help explain a bit more about me.