By Jason Eastin
Do you have a code of conduct for yourself? A barometer of your moral commitments to yourself that you focus on and check against your actions regularly. Do you have a 10 Commandments of Yourself? Below you will find mine. I started this maybe 10 or 12 years ago. After developing my own Gentleman’s code, I sent it out to my sons and asked them to come up with their own. I am not sure of its actual origin, or if it’s been used by others previously, but I call it Your Personal Gentleman Code. Over the years it has come up a few times, made for an enjoyable conversation piece between us. Having also used in discussions with other aspiring Gentleman, I see the benefits and would like to share and receive your input.
Jason’s Gentleman Code
Number one… Worship Regularly. Contribute to our church.
I am Christian man, father, and husband. Specifically a Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran. The WELS if you will is a doctrinally committed group of congregations, reserve mannered followers of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. This is the cornerstone of my life. Everything in my life stems from this. When my life turns into a train wreck, meaning specifically my attitude, health, diet, exercise, work, family drift into obscurity and loss, I know I have lost focus and attention to my faith and my church. We live in a sinful world; life will have its challenges. I need my God in my heart, in my life, to stay focused on how I should be living my life and supporting others in my community in their lives as well. This lends focus and determination to my daily efforts. Also adds perspective. In other words, I stay grounded. I am but a little part of this big ole’ world, of which I need to play my part, but not think the world is here for my benefit.
Number two… Dress, act, talk, better than the situation calls for each day.
This is important to me because I believe the trivial things matter. I have seen the success of people who are committed to taking care of the seemingly trivial things each and every day. I sometimes will rationalize wearing shorts and tennis shoes to work. Laziness, not dressing appropriately. I sometimes will self-excuse being the comic in a meeting, not adding levity to a stressful conversation, just being goofy. Not professional. When I am walking around life with a sour attitude, I don’t hold the door open for people, I won’t smile and say good morning to others, poor behavior for sure. When I share a bit of joy to others, dress neatly, shave daily, clean my truck and act like a Gentleman should, my life is more orderly. I find when I am dressed a bit better than needed, I act just a little more professionally, or more in accordance with the situational appropriateness. My language follows this as well. I drop the useless foul cuss words, drop the derogatory comments of others, and I will even pay more attention to when the conversation is going in a negative direction, and I find myself working to lead that conversation back to mutually beneficial directions. To me the trivial things in life mater, in my life, and I believe in others’ lives as well.
Number 3… Follow the ten commandments.
The 10 commandments as they were received by Moses in the Bible written by God on the tablets of stone, yes, those ten commandments. I don’t follow these as a salvation earning method, or some piety pure life holier than thou attitude. More important to me is the reverence of life, being more important to those around me, known and unknown than I am to life. I follow them, or rather attempt to follow them as a acknowledgement that my life, soul, comes from a higher power, God almighty. I am a single person, there are billions of us on earth, we all must take part in each other’s lives, like it or not. I will not take my life’s road map by others, as well I cannot give my road map to another, unless they ask for it. I believe there are eternal truths, I do not believe that an individual gets to define certain truths for themselves, or for others. It’s a constant effort for me, to stay grounded, love others where they are at, and actionably care for those in my community. Some days I am better at this than others, I will keep the effort up every day.
Number four… Lie only when its productive for others, never for my own gain, and never at the cost of others.
This one is exceedingly difficult for me to explain. I want to say, never lie. I’ve had a few campfires talks with friends and family on this one. I keep coming back to, sometimes it could be ok to lie, if its benefitting others. There have been times in my life when I made a 100% commitment to telling the truth, and it cost me and others. Sometimes the cost was simply hurt feelings, other times maybe more. In the end I try to remember something my dad told me early on. “If a lady is wearing an ugly hat, you don’t have to walk across the street to tell her that her hat is ugly. But what if that lady walks over to you at the street corner and asks, “Do you like my new hat, I just love it?””. Dad always said, you must tell her the truth, because she asked for it. But he would say the truth can sound different to different people… “That hat fits you just right, I sure couldn’t pull off wearing it!” or ” That’s the most eye-catching shade of purple I have ever seen” Truth yes, Lie yes. Sure, its splitting hairs. But in the end, I try to use this to keep my head and mouth in check. I find many times throughout a week or month, those standard little white lies come out of my mouth, and I have to go back and correct them. Now after a number of years of practice, I find that happens less and less often. I don’t like lies; I really don’t like habitual story tellers. I make a sincere effort not to lie. It cost me dearly a few times when I was younger, and I learned that lesson of pain. Truth now, less pain overall.
Number five… Pray for others, known and unknown.
This one was hard for me when I was younger. I realized that I was cursing actions from say an elected official, neighbor, or some other person who I thought was negatively impacting my life. Bad mouthing them internally or to other friends because I thought I knew what was really going on. Over the years I learned just how little I know. My neighbor parked in my parking spot or took up two spots making me park 1/2 mile away, found out later that neighbor got an emergency call from his wife while he was at work, rushed home to her having their baby, had to call the ambulance and was still at the hospital. What a jerk I was. While he was fighting to hold onto his family, I was crab assing because I had to walk a couple blocks. It’s been a fight on this one for me. Take specific time out of the day to write down people’s names, and or other notable positions of responsibility or influence. Then simply pray for them. Call out time from my day to reflect, ask God to bless them, and give thanks for their wisdom, effort and commitment. I have a little notebook in my Truck, I have been writing in it for years. I try to use this method each week.
Number six… Actionably Love your God, Family, Friends, Self, Employer, Employees, neighbors, every day, without exception.
In that order. I am specific on this one, again because I am a Christian. So I believe it goes in a specific order. Not of importance necessarily, but more of influence, and effectiveness. I can only interact with those outside of my circle so often. Doesn’t mean I will not actionably find a way to show love, or if more appropriate appreciation to those I feel the need to. State Governor, yes, send letters all the time, not just when they sign goofy legislation. Neighbor, yes, I will walk his trash cans back to his garage when he is away on vacation. When I am traveling for work, I send cards, or packages to my family back home. Every so often I find the opportunity to tell my boss I appreciate his dedication to the company. I find something very specifically to mention and actionably talk about the details of that item, so they know specifically that I am not just blowing smoke for some weird benefit. I want the people in my life to know, feel that they are important. That I feel, without them, I would not be able to succeed in my life efforts. I watch for specific occurrences, note them, write them down, and or even sometimes immediately show love and appreciation for that specific happening. If my wife makes me dinner, and she has made me dinner like a hundred thousand times. I will tell her, every time, thank you, and not just thank you, but I try to grab something unique about that dinner, or unique about the timing or situation of that dinner. I hope it helps to show I am not a zombie walking through life while others are loving on me, and I am not returning that effort and commitment of time. It takes both to love somebody. So I need to love others with actions, and not just words. Send Flowers to people, order good coffee, Invader brand and send to a coffee lover friend of yours or coworker, drop $5 gift cards to McDonalds on a few desks in your office, make the world’s largest pot of chili and cornbread for the hourly workers in your plant, or office, shovel the entire neighborhoods driveways or sidewalks, give your Mom a call and tell her nothing about you, ask everything about her life, and tell her a specific memory that you appreciated her on, hold the door or open the door for your wife/spouse, smile at her and say “I am thankful for you today, thank you for loving me”. Put action into your feelings toward others.
Number seven… Never Stop learning, make it a priority.
This one I assigned a time stamp to in my original writing. I used to measure my learning by quarterly calendar reminders. Now I find I am always printing off a technical paper, signing up for Search and Rescue training, attending a seminar, reading a book etc. Seems I finally made something positive a habit, only took me about ten years. I spread out my time on this one as best as I can. Personal growth, Professional growth. I fail in keeping it balanced, sometimes it slides to one side or the other, but that’s ok. I keep learning. Learning from others is recent goal of mine, I honestly thought of putting on here in place of this number seven. But after some thought realized that it falls under this general effort, so I am leaving it. If I am making a daily effort to learn, in some capacity, I find plenty of areas in my life that simply become sour, stagnant. I lose a bit of drive, and bit of commitment to excellence. I find others are passing me up, and it motivates me to get back in the game. Be better. I love to learn, so this is important to me. The key here is to find ways to implement what you have learned. Learning is best when put into practice. Learn a new skill, then practice it, apply it to your life regularly. Learn how to do an oil change on your vehicle. Then when you get the next opportunity go to the local auto parts store, Napa, and pick up the parts, learn the lingo, go home, get the work done, and take a smile on for the rest of the day. Nice job.
Number eight… Exercise regularly, take any opportunity to do so.
Even when its only fifteen minutes. I have trained on job sites at 11pm with burned up motors for weight and electrical conduit scraps hung up for pull up bars. Buckets of paint for step ups, emergency stairs in a hotel to run or ruck up, welding tables for benches, the list goes on… even including a shovel to dig a hug hole at a site once, only to fill it in hours later before anybody got clocked in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I do this every time, I can rationalize bad behavior better than most, I can be just as lazy as anybody else out there. I learned many years ago, the benefits of physical exercise, its training for life. I am not as into the details and specifics of why certain people have to refer to it as training and not lifting or exercise, I don’t really see much difference. For me, its life training. It’s not a goal to look a certain way, or be a certain size, or lift a certain number of lb’s on specific movements. It’s about feeling better when I wake up in the morning, it’s about reducing the doctors’ visits as I get older, oh and, it’s really about being able to keep up with my wife, and my grandkids as I get older. No way I want to miss out on time with my wife, we want to enjoy as much as we can together. So, we lift, ruck, step up, swing (kettlebells LOL) and do our sandbag getups, that way, when life throws us opportunities, we say yes, we can, without hesitation. A few months ago, my wife and I signed up for a GORUCK event in CA. Fill a backpack with 30lbs, run around on the beach, pushups, crawls, burpees, and most of that while in the ocean surf. I was washed around like beach ball. Marching all over the coast. Great time. Loved and hated it. a few weeks ago, I was traveling to TX for a project, working way too many hours, not able to get to the local gym. So, I did 300m sprints in the parking lot after everybody else went home. Also found a big barrel of old rainwater. Started flipping that around the back parking lot. Grabbed two of their five gallons of paint and did 1/2-mile round trip farmers carries. whatever I could make up. write down on a scratch pad and get it done. When I got home 2 weeks later, returned to my MTI training cycle, and didn’t really loose a beat. The next day, my wife had a 12-mile ruck planned for us. Done. Day after that a 9 round GORUCK patch challenge which took us one and half hours. Got to stay on top of the physical efforts, for life, this cannot be a temporary thing. This cannot be for some limited time, specific life moment or event. It’s for life not to do life…
Number Nine…. Listen in conversations, ask questions, DON’T tell comparison stories during a conversation!
This one is really a challenge for me. I must remind myself from time to time. I have taken a saying from somewhere, John Wayne movie most likely, don’t ever miss a good opportunity to shut the hell up. When talking with somebody about their life, I work at not interjecting my life into their story. Listen to their story, ask questions about what they are saying. Make them understand that you are listening and involved. Offer advise only if they seem to be asking for it. Many times, people are just venting, only really want to tell the things on their mind to somebody. Other times, and you will know when, those people are looking for help, for guidance, reassurance on their path. Maybe I should offer some guidance, but never from the direction of “what I did in that situation” or ” if I were you”. Approach should be from my moral code, from my Gentleman’s code. There is a difference. Many times, I can walk that person through to their own decision, a healthy one simply by asking the correct probing questions. There is a fine balance here, which I am still working on. I don’t want to be so callous that I am distant or non-emotional in a positive way. If its situationally appropriate, I will offer up a similar life story, but I am always trying to put that as a secondary approach. My first approach, is to listen, ask questions, not simply jump in with a comparison story. Comparison stories seem to shut down the conversation, and lead to a nonproductive relationship. I need to stay involved, but conversation is not for comparisons, it’s for relationship building. Listen. Be Present in the conversation.
Number ten… Train self-defense daily, teach others self-defense regularly.
I did this much more often and regular a few years ago. I am getting back into it now. This is something that I need to stay up on to ensure my family, friends and I stay safe. So many details to be attentive to. How many doors are there in the restaurant you’re in, where will you sit in a movie theater, do you go out after midnight, what parts of town are you going to, are you physically fit, can you flat out run away for 10 minutes if needed, can those who you love and are with you, are you training regularly in self-defense? The list goes on and on. Is your vehicle tuned up and ready for the hot summer, cold winter? Do you protect your account details, passwords financial documents etc. Do you own firearms, if so, do you train with them regularly, do you have them secure in a safe? I have so much to work on and refresh on this one. I have let myself down lately. Years ago, I made it a point to create a written situation of challenge and email it to my family. Asking them, how they would handle it. You’re walking out of the local grocery store, stopped just before closing to get some eggs and milk for breakfast. On the way out of the store, with your hands full of bags, two guys start walking your way staring straight at you. They are 25 yards away, just milling about in your direction, your car is just behind them. As you take a few steps closer they turn and walk back to another vehicle 10 or 15 yards behind your vehicle. What do you do? Little mental exercises like that help me think and pay attention. Know what is going on in the world around me, not paranoid, just ready, comfortable in my surroundings. I am sure you have heard the saying, “Nothing good happens after midnight”, heard that one from my grandma. How about “do stupid things, at stupid times, with stupid people, in stupid places, don’t be surprised when stupid finds you!” Stupid will ruin your day or worse. Share this with others is important to me. I find that specifically young people are not aware of their surroundings and the potential dangers they put themselves into fairly often.
Expanding on the above code of ethics
1. Worship Regularly. Contribute to our church.
2. Follow the ten commandments.
- Study them, be able to recite them always
3. Lie only when its productive for others, never for my own gain, and never at the cost of others.
4. Pray for others, known and unknown.
5. Actionably Love your God, Family, Friends, Self, Employer, Employees, neighbors, every day, without exception. In that order.
- Talk with Family Daily.
- Help Friends, be a blessing conduit from God to all friends, every time.
6. Never Stop learning, make it a priority.
7. Dress, act, talk, better than the situation calls for each day.
- Shave Daily- Daily Hygiene
- Act Professionally
- Dress Professionally
- Speak Factually, intelligently, NOT emotionally unless it’s to Rene’.
8. Exercise regularly, take any opportunity to do so. Even when its only fifteen minutes.
- When your daily life is sedentary, you must exercise regularly.
9. Listen in conversations, ask questions, DON’T tell comparison stories during a conversation!
- Never Miss a good opportunity to shut the hell up!
10. Train self-defense daily, teach others self-defense regularly.
My name is Jason Eastin. I Lived in Michigan just outside of Detroit for 48 years not far from where I was
born. About two years ago my wife of 26 years and I relocated about an hour east of Las Vegas, found a
home to grow old in. Following bad decision after bad decision in my youth, God blessed me with
multiple long term careers; facility management, sport coaching, project management, and high tech
engineering/manufacturing management. We have three remarkable children, and now two grandsons
and one son in law. I cannot seem to spend enough time with them. Currently I am member of the
County Search and Rescue team and my day job has extended nearly 20 years and the same company. I
am looking forward to the next stage of my life, in business development and or ownership.
Jason participated in one of MTI’s Quiet Professional Discussion Groups last Winter/Spring.