Fifteen Things I Have Learned About Loyalty

Original Spanish version published in El Comercio newspaper (Peru) on March 19, 2016

  1. Loyalty is not something people talk about much and, lately, it even seems unpopular in certain circles, but it is a vital quality to possess and, especially, to expect in the business world and even more so in our personal lives.
  2. It is hard to define loyalty, but very easy to recognize. Loyalty is valuable because it allows us to take the risk of predicting the actions and behavior of people we trust.
  3. One may not always correctly decide who to be loyal to, and some people may even disappoint us or deceive us when we are loyal to them. Despite all this, loyalty always allows us to be true to ourselves and to our values.
  4. It may be hard to be loyal sometimes, and often costly, but loyalty defines who we are and how well we sleep at night. It guarantees a clean conscience and a positive and transparent life.
  5. Loyalty must never be blind or submissive. Such loyalty is unsound and may even cause career suicide. Being loyal is being devoted and vulnerable, but never naive.
  6. It is important to be loyal to the past. There is no use in denying or hiding from it and, contrary to popular belief, attempting to do so usually only makes our efforts to hide from it that much more evident. Bad-mouthing former bosses, former companies, or collaborators only shows a latent disloyalty and alerts others to certain future betrayal. Watch out when hiring!
  7. Loyalty demands integrity and consistency. You cannot be loyal, for instance, in business, to your partners, your boss, or your company and not be loyal to your romantic partner, your family, or your friends, and vice versa.
  8. Who should you never trust? Those who betray guiltlessly, out of habit, or for petty reasons. To cover their betrayals, these people fall into a web of lies and slander that they cannot get out of and that shows who they really are.
  9. The most painful of disloyalties? Not being loyal to yourself, or giving up your dreams and principles, even if this sounds trite or cliché.
  10. The hardest thing? To forgive someone’s disloyalty when we expected much more from them. Should we forgive them? Perhaps. I leave that decision up to you. But better not to place our trust in them ever again.
  11. If someone betrays one of his friends or a member of his team, he will certainly betray all others in due time. And watch out, you might be next!
  12. Can someone who isn’t loyal still deserve our respect? No. Being loyal requires character and integrity, two impossible virtues for those who are weak or lacking of a moral compass.
  13. Sometimes, we must be loyal even to those who don’t deserve it or appreciate it. As we have already said, loyalty is an act of integrity and personal values. Many times, loyalty has to do more with oneself than with the subject of our loyalty.
  14. Gratitude compels us to be loyal and vice versa. The ungrateful tend to be disloyal, and the disloyal to be ungrateful. Better to stay away from both, to identify them early on and not give them second chances. By contrast, nothing should be more treasured than loyal friends and collaborators!
  15. Being loyal pays off with a legion of people who are loyal, who have our backs, and protect us from the disloyal. People who are loyal deserve my entire admiration and respect. Just as they are loyal, they are reliable and morally sound. Hooray for loyal collaborators, friends, and families! Nothing compares to them.

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