Strength in Integrity

“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.”

~ Brian Tracy

I just finished a three-day Mastermind with a family of amazingly accomplished, forward thinking, and giving entrepreneurs. Collectively, this group possesses and demonstrates a wide-range of enviable qualities and traits, high among them – integrity. It was/is a privilege to be a part of and among them.

A boat with no leaks is said to have integrity, as is a solid piece of furniture. It is their wholeness – no gaps or weaknesses – that gives them their integrity. People who have integrity convey a similar “seaworthiness” and stability. There is the sense that they can be counted on, that their actions will be consistent with their ideals. Just being in the presence of someone with this quality creates a feeling of steadiness even in a chaotic environment. These people are natural, not fabricated or self-perceived, leaders and we sense that it is safe to follow them. We are blessed with notable examples of modern human beings who embodied integrity. Can you name three?

Integrity cannot be self-ascribed. As with true leaders who personify integrity, we can learn first hand the benefits of sacrificing short-term gains in favor of long-term vision – provided the vision benefits others and not one’s self. In a culture obsessed with convenience and freedom, integrity can be a rare quality.

Integrity generates self-confidence and self-esteem. It is never aligned with being self-centered. It is important to take time on a regular basis to examine whether your actions – public and private, your words, and your vision are in alignment. Consider making it a priority to assess any imbalances you find and commit to resolving them. Also, take time, when necessary, to revise your overall life vision to ensure your actions and words support ideals for a larger community or cause greater than your own personal motives.

Integrity cannot be faked. So much of integrity is authenticity, which to many, is something you feel or know intuitively. There are many ways in which to demonstrate integrity. Maybe you’d like to try these:

  1. Live for others ahead of yourself. The root enemy of integrity is selfishness. The Golden Rule requires treating others the way we would like to be treated. Living the Golden Rule boosts personal integrity.
  2. Don’t kowtow. This goes back to being authentic. There’s nothing less authentic than ass-kissing.
  3. Make an excuse board. Put it all out there. Make columns for eating crap, chronically skipping exercise (though allowing for earned rest days), going to bed late, drinking too much, stressing yourself sick, etc. At the end of one month, see how much you’ve excelled at cheating yourself (and possibly others). This can be an effective exercise, even if potentially unpleasant.

To conclude with a light-hearted look at integrity, here’s a fun video . 🙂

19 thoughts on “Strength in Integrity

  1. Well…I guess the politicians are out! Hehe.
    Integrity is definitely a wonderful quality to have. I also think that a good leader will have a sense of calmness as well as integrity. Well..I’d like a leader like that 🙂
    Reading the post, I couldn’t help but think that in this day and age, like you said a society that’s all about quick fixes and rushing for success and all, and that quote in the image…there is this “danger” when one has integrity to be considered someone who is “against progress”, “against the majority”…you know?
    Basically society and progress and the majority better start waking up!!

    • There are very few politicians with whom I associate with integrity, Shree. 🙂 At least in the U.S. And that, I believe, is a sad commentary. Yet in my own experience and sphere, I have known several (non-politicians) who embody integrity.

  2. I have worked for two men of integrity. They taught me a lot, though I am still learning. I’d like to think at the end of my life someone would use the word ‘integrity’ when referring to me. I don’t think there is a higher goal.

    • Perhaps, then, you’ll draw upon another trait that will play a role in its writing. Motivation? Inspiration? Pride? Though not a desirable quality, destitution? I suspect you’ll find a catalyst. 🙂

  3. Integrity is such a simple word yet in practice, can be complicated. I say that because I started out in life with a simple view on this and over the years I lost my way due to pressures from peers, my egoism, job pressures, and family pressures. Recently over the last year, events took place that forced me to step back and re-assess my own personal values. I found I was mis-aligned and now am able to see more clearly each day when I make it a primary goal each day to be true to my values which in turn enables me to be true to others and my goals. Good post!

    • Yours, Lauren, is a path traveled by many. What’s different about yours is that you chose to awaken to the possibilities, claimed ownership, and took action. Sounds like admirable clarity and focus to me. Congratulations! and thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. Eric – I always enjoy reading your posts, even though I don’t always comment. 🙂 I particularly liked your statement: “In a culture obsessed with convenience and freedom, integrity can be a rare quality.” It’s so sad in its truth. So many people talk of integrity, yet so few live it in these days. Keep up the great posts!

  5. Considering it is not (in my opinion) a challenging choice (to live in integrity), I’m curious as to why so many others do not strive for this noble quality. Thanks, much, for your ongoing reads and significant comments.

    • So simple and so true. One would think we’d all “get it” after a while. Rather than trying to change or right the world, I’ve chosen to life my own life in integrity, hopeful that some of that will be respected and emulated by others. But that’s just me. 🙂 Thank you for your ‘spot on’ comment.

  6. Pingback: You Must Live With Integrity | ripping jeans

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