Loyalty is an interesting word; for most people, it requires a respectable amount of thought to define, or even just to consider with any level of care. It can be the most rewarding quality an individual could have built into his character--or the most damaging.

"Damaging?! How can loyalty be damaging?"

Ah--the moment one asks, the answer starts to form. Being blindly loyal to a cause, company or person can be very destructive. It has ruined many lives and caused millions of people to be very bitter.

Conversely, there are a great number of people who are enjoying tremendous rewards for their loyalty.

Clearly, whichever way it cuts, for the good or the ill, loyalty is a powerful force.

Most adults in today's world were raised to believe that if they got a job with a big company and were loyal to that company, they would be rewarded with security for themselves and their family all the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, with the vast amount of downsizing and re-engineering that has taken place in virtually every major corporation worldwide, it has become obvious to every thinking person that this was a big error. Even sadder is that this should have been recognizable from the very start: no corporation is truly capable of giving anyone security. Security is an inside job--if you haven't got it there, you haven't got it.

Personally, I put loyalty at the top of the list of those character traits which I consider to be vitally important. As Jane Willhite suggests in her interview in this issue, loyalty is a decision, a choice we make.

This is an orderly universe, and that order is dictated by the laws of the universe. One of these laws is that there is a cause and effect relationship with everything in life. There would be no up without a down, no in without an out. For every cause there exists an effect and vice versa.

When you feel a connection to the values and objectives of a company or of another individual, you will tend to become loyal to that person or company. Your loyalty will generally be reciprocated by that person or company having faith or trust in you. It is a very fragile and special bond, and we place such a high value on it that, if either party betrays that faith or violates that trust, the relationship will become strained and will rapidly dissolve.

Loyalty is based on spiritual principles. It is the outgrowth of a higher level of awareness. When an individual trusts you or has faith in you, that is no small thing. You may rest assured that you have earned it.


BOB PROCTOR is Publisher of Networking Times.