Integrity Matters
October 17, 2007

You can learn a lot from dogs, Yogi

Question: (E-312)
Where does one learn about integrity?


Everywhere and anytime individuals pay attention. Here are two examples: wisdom from the behavior of dogs and insights from legendary baseball professional player and coach Yogi Berra.

Dogs know that:

  1. When loved ones come home, they run to greet them.
  2. When others are having a bad day, they remain quiet, sit close and nuzzle gently.
  3. If what they want lies buried, they dig until they find it.
  4. Dogs are loyal, never pretending to be something they are not.
  5. They avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  6. They stretch when they rise, and they take naps.
  7. Dogs let others know when their territory has been invaded.
  8. No matter how often they are scolded, they do not buy into the guilt thing or pout. Rather, they run right back and make friends.
  9. They thrive on attention, allowing others to touch them.

Hall of Fame catcher, Yogi Berra, also provides dog-like wisdom: "You can observe a lot just by watching." Dogs get that, and so should we.

Berra said: "When you come to fork in the road, take it." And he probably meant: Have the courage to choose, move on and live with the consequences. He is also remembered for uttering the seemingly contradictory phrase: "Good pitching will beat good hitting and vice-versa." Use the best you have, expecting that when it is your turn, you will prevail. Sometimes you get the bear and at other times, the bear gets you.

One of my personal Yogi favorites, perhaps because it reassures me that my ability to get lost in a telephone booth is not unique, refers to proper planning: "I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early." Expect delays and surprises, even mistakes, and plan accordingly. Or, "Baseball is 90 percent mental - the other half is physical." Which means: You need to have your head in the game, with the right attitude, and then be confident that even though others might be stronger, with more talent, you can still prevail.

On the subject of listening, really taking the time to engage with others, he said: "It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much." Families and friends would be better for one another if they listened more than they talked.

About taking things too personally, and not being able to separate on-field performance from who someone is, he offered this: "Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting."

Dogs and Yogi - simple and straightforward - remain focused on others, thereby winning respect, gaining power and earning success.

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