Redefining the Code


I think I should write a book called “Redefining the Code.” Only it won’t be about changing our DNA with our thoughts, or about secret messages in the Bible. It will be about something that has fallen out of fashion and caused a great deal of trouble in the process.

It will be about honor. An honor code.

We've forgotten how meaningful (and, quite frankly, helpful) an honor code can be as we navigate our world, our relationships – ourselves.

“We don’t even give it lip service anymore,” a friend noted casually last week.

And he’s right. When was the last time, in your daily life, that you found yourself saying, about yourself or someone else “that was the honorable thing to do?”

Honorable is a special word. It's not "nice," or "kind," or even "right." "Honor" runs a little deeper than implies Something More.

honor: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions

I’m suggesting a collective shift in attitude; not just sharing the occasional news story that we are momentarily touched by and discuss at the water cooler or at our post-workout Starbucks visit.  I’m suggesting that we, all of us (or at least many of us), decide that it is valuable to be honorable not just in the big, hero-like events in life but in even the smallest of acts.

What if we decided that it was not honorable to scream in the faces of those with whom we disagree? Not honorable to lie to our boss, our spouse or the IRS. Not honorable to treat the disabled and the elderly dismissively. Not honorable to refuse help to the poor.

Not honorable to claim credit for a coworker's idea or project. Not honorable to alter a story about someone here and there 'just a tad' in order to diminish her in another person's eyes.

Smaller yet: Not honorable to cut in line. Not honorable to cut someone off in traffic. Not honorable to slip into a parking spot someone else is waiting for WITH HER TURN SIGNAL ALREADY  ON.

I could continue, but I’ll save that for the one-day book I’ll never write. I think you get the picture.  I bet you could add your own examples.

For now, imagine with me a world where people often said:

“Oh, I couldn’t do that. It wouldn't be honorable.”


“Good for him. It was honorable to do what he did.”

Socrates observed that “…all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice of them.” I’m suggesting that we start practicing. I’m suggesting that we start today.


Do ONE THING today that makes you smile to yourself as you say, "THAT was honorable."