The Results of Living by Conscience

People who listen to and live by their conscience do not have the cotton-candy satisfaction of urgency addiction, pleasing other people, or getting their security from being incredibly busy every minute of the day. They do however experience deep fulfillment–even in the midst of difficulties and challenges–and they go to bed at night with the confidence that they have done the most important things they could have done that day.

Here’s a story narrated by late Dr. Stephen Covey himself.

“Recently, as I was getting into a cab in a major Canadian city, the bellman told the cab driver, “Dr. Covey wants to go to the airport.” So the cab driver thought I was an M. D., and he started telling me all about his medical problems. I tried to explain to him that I was not that kind of doctor, but his English was limited and he didn’t understand me. So I just listened.

The more he described his problems, the more convinced I became that the problem that he was describing were basically a function of his lack of integrity. He was leading a life of duplicity–lying and cheating. His biggest worry was being caught by the police. It was affecting his health. I was sitting there without a seat belt and he was talking about seeing double as he drove down the highway.

Even as we pulled up to the airport, he said (and I am paraphrasing his broken English), “I am going to look for another fare. And I am not going to follow their rules and wait for two hours. I know how to get those fares.” Then his expression sobered. “But if the policemen find me, I will get in trouble. I will lose my license. What do you think, Doctor?”

Finally, I said to him, “Don’t you think that the main source of all these tensions and pressures is that you are not being true to your conscience? You inwardly know what you should do.”

“But I can’t make a living that way!”

“Where is your faith? Put your faith in the principles of integrity. You will get peace of mind and wisdom will come to you.”

Something seemed to touch him profoundly. He became open and teachable. “Do you think it would?”

“I absolutely know it would. But you have got to make the commitment in your heart. See yourself living by the fundamental Laws of Life that are basic to all civilizations. Don’t cheat. Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Treat people with respect.”

“You really think it would help?”

“I know it would.”

In the end, he didn’t want to take a tip. He just embraced me. “I’m gonna do that. I already feel better!”