You will be asked to negotiate things you must never trade away. Whatever is offered in trade will never equal what you are being asked to give up. The following list includes the things forbidden from being negotiated away.
- Integrity or Character: If there is one thing you should never, ever negotiate away, it is your integrity. Your character is worth more to you than anything you possess. From time to time, you will be tested. Someone will ask you to do something illegal or immoral, and those who check you will negotiate by promising you some benefit, likely pecuniary. No matter who offers, and no matter what they offer you, once you negotiate away your integrity, it is difficult to recover—and in some cases, impossible. Stick to your guns.
- Your Goals and Dreams: It’s too easy to trade your goals and dreams for what other people and society suggest. “The Drift” is powerful, and it will pull you along in a direction, not of your choosing. “The Drift” feels good. It’s comfortable because you fit in, you don’t make other people unhappy or uncomfortable. No one can live your life for you. No group of loosely bound together humans has the right to decide what is right for you. You cannot negotiate away your goals and dreams, no matter who tries to negotiate them away. It’s your life, and those are your dreams. No one has to like it, but they do have to live with your decision.
- Your Priorities: Goals and dreams are one thing, and priorities are another. You don’t have to negotiate with others what is most important to you now. What other people want from you does take precedence over what you want from you. You never have to be rude about saying no to small things so you can say yes to the things that, for you anyway, are most important. It is also true that you don’t need to negotiate your priorities—least of all with someone who isn’t going to show up to you funereal.
- Your Word: If you say you will do something, do what you said you would do. Your word is your bond. It is a promise, even if you don’t recognize you had made a promise when you spoke the words. The person who heard your words believed you meant what you said. The one who would have you negotiate away your word is a villain. The words you say after you have stated what you would doo carry no weight and are rendered meaningless by those to whom you speak.
- Your Loyalty: Your loyalty cannot be for sale. If you owe someone your loyalty, like your integrity and your word, you don’t negotiate it away. There may be a time when someone tries to promise you something to shift your commitment to them, even providing you with a rationale for doing so. If you negotiate away your loyalty, you are treacherous and unfaithful. If you are not loyal, you will not find loyalty. Kipling wrote: “The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”
- Your Belief in Yourself: Humans are born with a self-conscious to accompany their consciousness. Some will try to convince you that you are not enough, that you should doubt yourself. A few will do this out of their love for you, as a way to prevent you from being hurt. Others will try to have you see something less when you look in the mirror as a way to not feel so small themselves. Whatever the motivation, your belief in yourself cannot be traded for other people’s fears, regardless of their motivation.
- Your Attitude: Your attitude is a choice. There will be many who try to convince you to see the glass as half full, some suggesting that what the glass holds is poison. There are entire industries built on convincing you to be pessimistic, cynical, and afraid. It is a raw act of courage to decide to be positive, optimistic, and empowered. You must ignore the attempts to negotiate away your attitude. The half-full glass isn’t full of poison, but the words of those who would have you believe that to be true are nothing less than a toxic venom.
- Assuming Good Intentions: Every day, you will have an opportunity to assume that people who are different from you are your enemies. You will be provided with reasons to believe that people who believe something different from you are somehow evil, worthy of your anger—or hatred. You are supposed to assume their intentions are bad. You don’t have to trade away your willingness to assume good intentions, and by doing so, allow people to assume your good intentions.
- Your Individuality: You were born an individual. While you might belong to many tribes, there is no tribe worth joining that would have you give up who you are. You will find people who want you to change, or more accurately, who want to change you. You never have to negotiate away who and what you are to please someone else.
- Your Personal Power: You have the power to be more, do more, have more, and contribute more. You have agency, the ability to decide and act on what you want. You never have to compromise or allow anyone or anything to negate the power you received free and clear at your birth. Your life belongs to you, and it is yours to live.
Keep sacred these things that matter most.
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