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Dependability

More important than talent

There were two childhood friends who were buddies throughout high school and college before joining the army together. When war broke out, they ended up fighting in the same unit. One night they were ambushed by the enemy and bullets were flying all over the place. Through the darkness a voice rang out, “Harry, please help me.” Harry instantly realized that the voice belonged to his childhood buddy, Bill. He asked his captain for permission to go get Bill. His captain was adamant, “No, I can’t let you go. We’re already short-handed and I can’t afford to lose anyone else. Besides, from the sound of his voice, your buddy’s not gonna make it.”

Harry kept quiet and again the voice rang out in the darkness, “Harry, please come help me.” Harry sat quietly because his captain had already put his foot down—no one could leave their position. Over and over again his buddy Bill continued to cry out. Finally, Harry couldn’t hold himself back any longer and insisted to his captain, “Sir, that’s my best friend. I have to go help him.” The captain reluctantly let him go. Harry crawled out into the darkness and moments later came dragging Bill back into their bunker. When the medics checked Bill, they found that he was dead. The captain got mad and shouted at Harry, “Didn’t I tell you he wasn’t going to make it? The guy’s dead and you could have been killed, too. That was a mistake that could have cost me another man.” Harry replied, “Sir, I did the right thing. When I reached him, he was still alive and his last words were ‘Harry, I knew you would come.”‘

How dependable are you? When you give your word to do something, can others count on you to follow through, even if it is more difficult than you expected? When you experience unexpected difficulties, do you use them as excuses for not following through? Can your family and friends count on you to turn down other opportunities to show up for them during special events?  Do you graciously but firmly turn down invitations that will distract you from following through on your commitments?

If you can be only one thing, be dependable. It trumps talent and being clever every time. The dependable person is faithful in little things as well as big things and committed to excellence in all that he does. The dependable person is truthful in what he says and can be trusted to keep confidential information private. Do you want to win in this world? The most simple and effective strategy is to be the most dependable.