Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the Ides of March

Today is March 15th, which turns out to be the "ides" of March on the Julian calendar.  Now I'm no study of Shakespearian plays, but I know a few quotes, and "Beware the ides of March" from Julius Caesar is one of them.  The significance of this day for Caesar is that he will be assassinated by a group of conspirators.  And despite numerous warnings and signs, Caesar, a very superstitious man, still ventures forth on the ides to meet his doom.  

One of the themes of the play is that the characters confuse their private selves with their public selves.  Caesar loses his ability to distinguish between his omnipotent, immortal public image and his private, vulnerable self.  His ambition leads him right into the deathtrap.   

It seems not a day goes by that we don't hear about some celebrity, politician, or corporate leader apologizing, defending, or resigning as a result of a scandal.  They had a lapse of judgement about their omnipotence and are now paying the price.  Did they also receive warnings along the way that they refused to heed?  Did they believe that their public image was untouchable, that no one would dare betray them, or that they were beyond reproach? 

Integrity is a measure of how well your actions align with your core values and represent your purpose.  Another way to define it is when your public self and your private self are in alignment.  And since each person defines their own integrity, it takes vigilance to develop your alignment between your calling and your conduct.      

"Beware the ides of March" could be a reminder to all of us to heed the warnings when our integrity is in jeopardy.  

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