By Younas Chaudhary
I grew up in a society where we had to keep our word, honor our promises, and not fail in doing what we said we would do. Every deal in my remote Pakistani village ended with a handshake and without any written agreements. Even children’s futures were decided by elders by verbal commitments. For example, when a child was born, elders would decide who she/he would marry later in life and gave their word to another family. Decades later, families would honor their commitment to one another and the children would be married as agreed by their elders.
When people borrowed cash, traded livestock, or engaged in other day to day purchases, the borrower would give his word to a lender, saying that he would repay the money after the harvest season. And almost every time they kept their word. Everyone kept their word and seldom did someone say: “Well, I don’t remember borrowing money from you.”
I always kept my word as this was a cardinal principle that influenced me in my personal life and in business. Integrity was a life lesson always reminding me that I had to be consistent in what I said and did. Over the years, I have trusted people based on their word and rarely have I encountered people who broke their promises. I kept my word and never reneged on my promises.
As years passed, the good habit of keeping my word slowly improved my self-confidence. Such habits motivated me to do little and bigger things in life for others without any personal motives and gave me a positive vibe. I knew people believed what I said and they knew that if they counted on me to do certain tasks, I would perform them diligently and on time.
On rare occasions, people would call me and say they could not repay a loan or return certain items on a particular date and needed an extension. I would happily oblige. This simple honor code helped me build trust with lenders/financiers. In certain instances, sellers and lenders trusted me more than the highest bidder for a particular property because they knew that I would keep my word and deliver in a timely manner.
Sometimes people would fail to keep their word and this created a negative perception about their character and dealing. Our perception changes about people when they fail to keep their word.
This trait that I learned as a child has helped me in life and in business. I have always kept my word, and, despite the extreme volatility of my energy businesses, I have not defaulted and have always paid all my loans on time over the last four decades as a businessperson.
Promises are only as strong as the person who gives them. I strongly believe that keeping and honoring your word becomes your legacy. Blessings!
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.