What is integrity? It’s defined as: a firm adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. It’s Latin root, integritatem, means wholeness, complete, perfect. Most of us value integrity, yet it’s truly hard to maintain as the word “perfect” implies. Integrity isn’t a character trait that we can apply when it’s easy or convenient, it’s an “always” proposition. It’s always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, and even when the choice isn’t easy.
Perfection is often such a difficult target that I rarely encourage myself and others to shoot for it, but if it’s for our integrity, then it’s worth it. Think about it: doing the right thing—always. Always! Even when no one is looking, and even when the choice isn’t easy. That’s integrity. Our integrity is what determines our reputation, and one single bad choice can demolish a lifetime’s worth of integrity.
The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.– Japanese Proverb
Today, I hope all of us are thinking about our integrity. Our firm adherence to our moral and ethical principles. And yes, it’s doing the right thing when no one is watching, but what if everyone was watching? What then? What if: our children are watching, our boss is watching, our friends are watching? Everyone is watching. Integrity is OUR character trait so only WE can choose how we will behave. The Japanese proverb may be all we need to digest today.