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Loyalty Pays . . . So Does Living Your Values

June 27, 2011

Loyalty Pays . . . So Does Living Your Values

An article in the June 21st Wall Street Journal, “A Healthy Dose of Loyalty” by Shirley Wang, cites research showing that loyalty has financial and personal benefits.  Conclusions from studies by RAND Center for the Study of Aging, John Gottman of the Relationship Research Institute, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveal that people who make and keep a long term commitment to a purpose, cause, person (e.g., spouse, significant other), employer, or organization:

  • Live longer
  • Are healthier
  • Have more fulfilling and enriching lives (have greater life satisfaction).
  • Earn more if they are loyalty to an employer for 5-10 years

Loyalty requires dedication to meeting the needs of others.  It often entails putting their interests ahead of one’s own.  It involves making a commitment to a goal or pursuit, perhaps with the expectation that one’s own needs will ultimately be met.  It’s a form of enlightened self-interest and necessitates extending trust.

Some of these studies also show that:

  • When people/couples behave in ways that create mutual trust, it strengthens relationships and enables the people to function without being suspicious of the other person’s motives.  Which, in turn, generates benefits such as those listed above.
  • Making amends must be mutual or results in loss of self-respect if one person does and the other does not – which then erodes the relationship and with it the benefits listed above.  Words must be supported by actions.

These benefits are within the reach of most of us.  It may sound simple enough but realizing those benefits involves establishing and sustaining value-guided behavior patterns through tough and easy times.  It requires dedication and the discipline to avoid expediency or the allure of temporary short-term gains that could jeopardize relationships. It may be require making tough choices or placing greater emphasis on resolving issues rather than proving the rightness of one’s position.

Attaining these benefits also entails embracing a personally meaningful purpose – being committed and loyal to it – whether in the form of a job, cause, belief system, relationship, or organization.

Think about your loyalties and commitments.  Are you living your values and focused on something greater than yourself?  Your long-term personal interests are tied to your commitment to goals, people and organizations outside of yourself.

Steve Weitzenkorn

Copyright © 2011, F3 Forum LLC. All rights reserved.

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