Impeccable Living

No accurate thinker will judge another person by that which the other person’s enemies say about him.” ~ Napoleon Hill

One of the challenges I face as a manager is to deal with the occasional tiffs that come up between people in relation to details at work. While “enemy” is a strong term in this context (co-workers are rarely true enemies), tempers can flare in relation to the smallest of details…even between those who would call themselves friends.

Dealing with these quarrels over time has taught me an important lesson, namely, that it is never wise to judge a person based on what his enemies say about him. Such an approach is no different than the one taken by those who frivolously form their opinions on celebrities by reading the tabloids at the supermarket. It is a decidedly superficial approach to living, one that substitutes hearsay for the truth and ignorant prejudice for the benefit of the doubt.

I’ve found that it is much better to treat others with honest skepticism, to get to know them for myself, than to blindly trust the opinions of others. I would hope that they would accord me the same respect, wouldn’t you?

Ironically, you can tell a lot about a person by the enemies he has made. Some of the most influential people who have ever lived had some of the fiercest enemies and bitterest critics. If you think of the treatment accorded Jesus of Nazareth, the prophet Muhammad, Galileo Galilei or even Martin Luther King, Jr., it is clear that representing a higher standard and devoting your life to the pursuit if, not the revelation, of truth is a sure way to make vociferous and at times violent enemies in the world the way it is (and has been for some time).

Impeccable living has a way of drawing the line in the sand. It causes those wedded to mediocrity to either renew their vows or petition for a divorce, depending on their state of mind and heart. It intensifies the discomfort of sitting on the fence and makes those who serve two masters realize that they must give themselves fully to either the one they love or the one they hate. The choice is never forced; it is made according to the tenets of free will.

You have a choice.

I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” ~ Franklin Roosevelt

13 thoughts on “Impeccable Living

  1. Hi Gregg,

    Loved this blog today and especially the quotes on either end!

    “No accurate thinker will judge another person by that which the other person’s enemies say about him.” ~ Napoleon Hill

    Accurate thinking is really a great virtue that is undervalued by society, especially when it is understood that you become what you think about.

    Thanks for an awesome reminder!



    1. Gregg Hake

      Thank you, James. There is a crying need for accurate thinking in every department of human function. Inaccurate thinking is the root cause of any societal ill I can think of and there is but one remedy!


  2. I love tihs line, “those who serve two masters realize that they must give themselves fully to either the one they love or the one they hate.” This really puts in perspective a clear choice. One that brings coherence and the other that brings destruction. Yes we have a choice relative to what others say about us and relative to the living of life. Your words are an urging to put our lives in perspective.


  3. Joy

    In these days when the “tabloids” shout so loudly it can be a little difficult to know who represents who. In one sense this may appear to be true in another it is pretty obvious that “the hate mail” side of things can never represent that which is noble and true. There are so many “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, so many “false prophets” around, and the pain of having ones heart betrayed can so easily lead to inertia, to that life lived in mediocrity. As you said Gregg “honest skepticism” is wise; it can’t (obviously), go on indefinitely because that would be straddling the fence which is never comfortable. So often so called “Leaders” can get very indignant when honest skepticism is maintained. It is very refreshing to see you embrace it. Thank You.


    1. Gregg Hake

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Joy. The idea that you can use disgraceful tactics to restore your dignity is based on faulty logic. The end never justifies the means when it comes to living impeccably. Moreover, ignominious behavior never begets an honorable life. There are no shortcuts. The only way to overcome the inertia of which you speak is to live impeccably and to employ accurate thinking to the best of your abilities.


  4. Lady Leo

    I was reading a book last night and a woman author who lived in the 1800’s was mentioned. Unfortunately she was portrayed exactly opposite to what her life’s work demonstrated by taking one line, out of context, from an essay she wrote and quoting a peer of hers, again out of context, to make it sound as if the two supported that which the writer was accusing them of. While unfamiliar with the peer, the author I had read extensively on. What the writer was saying was completely false and almost the opposite of the authors legacy.
    My point is often history continues this tragic practice. I’m sorry for the readers that may miss this amazing woman’s contributions if they fail to look further into her life based on the ignorant assumption of this one writer.
    Assigning someone’s worth based on what their enemies or an ignoramus would write or say is a clue about the person doing the judging. They reveal themselves to be short sighted, easily influenced and lacking character. Let them sort themselves out! This is a point worthy of everyone’s consideration!


    1. Gregg Hake

      The risk of putting your thoughts in writing and your words into the air! People do sort themselves out over time, don’t they?


  5. Alyssa B

    So much of “belief” is based on other people’s opinions in the form of: how we were raised, what our friends think and feel, our family, what we hear on the news, etc. Peer pressure seems to affect us not only individually, but culturally and globally. I appreciate the stance you have taken relative to refraining from judgment. I just recently heard two people speak about the same person – one seeing the limitations and the other seeing the promise.

    What most people fail to realize is that they have the power to bring out the best in another person. Why judge and perhaps limit another person, but you will most certainly condemn yourself in the process.


    1. Gregg Hake

      Objectivity is viewing the world through the lens of truth, with a pure heart. The majority of thought, observation and analysis is subjective.


  6. Colin

    There are so many people that will try to influence you, subtly or overtly, to see people from their point of view. Sometimes they have a good reason for the dislike, and sometimes it is a not so good reason. It is hard to judge someone accurately, as you never really truly can know the reason why someone does something. You can’t see their heart, and you’re not inside their mind, so any judgement you make is immediately second hand. To take someone’s opinion of a person without honest skepticism is even harder; it’s automatically third hand judgement. Plus you have to think about whether you trust that person enough that their judgement is accurate.
    In reality, there is no need for all the second guessing of judgement. All any of us can control are our own minds, hearts, and deeds. The people around us will just have to sort themselves out based on what we do.


    1. Gregg Hake

      When you are pure of heart and in possession of an unprejudiced mind you can look upon the heart of another using the finest instrument we have at our disposal, that is, empathy. Further, empathy obviates the need for judgment because you’re not looking to coax another into “seeing it your way,” rather, your concern is that they might commune with you in pure truth. Truth sits above human opinion.


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