Integrity: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. – Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary
Those who stand for nothing fall for anything. – Alexander Hamilton
If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you do not have integrity, nothing else matters.
People with integrity can be trusted and relied on. They will not try to take advantage of or defraud someone. Their word is their bond and their handshake is better than a contract. Integrity is an invaluable trait that enables one to stand out from the crowd.
Conversely, people with a lack of integrity risk succumbing to temptation with no frame of reference to guide them. They are susceptible to becoming embroiled in schemes that will inevitably lead to less than desirable results.
“Everyone has their price,” is a too frequently heard adage. People with integrity don’t have a price. They can not be bought off. Those who will compromise their principles for the right price don’t have any principles to compromise.
People lacking of integrity take bribes, steal, cheat, lie, and take advantage of others. They will sell themselves to the highest bidder. They have a poor self-image and little respect for themselves or others.
Integrity is priceless. Although it can be sold for pennies, no amount of money can buy it back. Once a person gives up their integrity, it’s virtually impossible to regain it. Someone who has compromised their integrity will never be fully trusted again and their motives will always be suspect.
Living with integrity is less anxiety provoking than living without it. You’ll never be embarrassed, or worse, by any of your actions. You don’t have to always look over your shoulder wondering if you will be caught or if someone will tell on you.
Maintaining your integrity isn’t necessarily the path of least resistance. You will encounter those who question the wisdom of your integrity and will argue that it’s no big deal for you to overlook it just this one time. There will be peer pressure to conform to the aberrant behavior of others.
You may be ostracized, called impractical, unrealistic, or a host of uncomplimentary names. You may be threatened with alienation and shunned. It’s important to realize that anyone who asks you to act in a manner contradictory to your integrity is self-serving and has no qualms about sacrificing you to accomplish their own objectives.
Don’t put a price tag on your integrity. It’s not for sale. Your integrity serves as a compass to keep you pointed in the right direction. When faced with choices, pick the one that is consistent with your integrity. If taking action violates your sense of what is right, don’t do it.
Don’t justify behavior you know is wrong. When someone sells out, they will excuse their actions with statements such as, “I only did it once,” “Everyone else does it,” “No one will notice,” “It wasn’t for that much,” “No one will care.” or “It doesn’t matter.”
Once you destroy your integrity, the reasoning doesn’t matter. No one cares why you have no integrity. You must hold your ground and resist any and all pressure to tarnish your integrity. It’s one of your most precious commodities.
NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper.
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