METTLE IS A WORD you don’t hear much these days. It means a strength of mind that gives you the ability to withstand pain or difficulties with bravery and resolution. Mettle is a quality we all admire. But it isn’t something you are born with. It must be developed. It is strengthened by the way you conduct your everyday life. Specifically, mettle is created by daily making the decision to:
Remain loyal to your comrades. We are social creatures, and when you violate this cannon, you wound yourself at the core. If you are married and find yourself flirting with someone at work, make the decision to remain loyal to your spouse, even if it means not getting the admiring eyes of another. If someone is bad-mouthing a friend of yours behind their back, defend them in their absence. When you have committed yourself to someone, whoever they are, remain true to them. This is one of the deepest principles of integrity.
Speak honestly and directly. We live in a world of appearances and game-playing. It is one of the things that makes the world a crazy place and produces so much stress. More honesty in the world is needed and wanted, from the smallest level all the way up. Honesty requires courage, and it exacts a price. And although you will never be perfectly honest, you can always improve. It is the effort to increase your integrity that forges mettle.
Keep your word. Be careful about what you promise or what promises you imply. Be very clear with others about what they can expect from you and clear and careful with yourself about what you can expect from yourself. And then do everything you can to never disappoint. Keep your word. Think of your word as sacred and treat it so. It produces one of the finest experiences known to humankind: trust. People will learn they can count on you, and you will learn you can count on yourself.
These are the Three Commandments of Mettle. Courage may seem like an ancient and unneeded quality in our pampered modern era, but now we need it more than ever. The human race is controlling the destiny of all living things on earth, and what is needed is human integrity. The place to start is your own. The time to start is now. Give your spouse and children an example to emulate and you will be doing the most concrete good you can for the future of the planet.
Remain loyal to your comrades,
speak honestly and directly,
and keep your word.