Integrity is your most valuable asset. Whether rich or poor, smart or average, famous or unknown it’s integrity that is the true measure of your value.
A rich, smart, famous person without integrity gets respect for what they have (by people without integrity) and not for who they are. A poor, average, unknown person with integrity gets respect for who they are. What they do not have is inconsequential.
What is integrity? Before I get into that, I want to tell you about who I learned integrity from. My maternal grandfather (mother’s father). He was a man of extraordinary integrity. He was respected, trusted, admired, and loved because of it. As a child, I spent many weekends and summer days helping my grandfather with various work projects. I also went with him to professional baseball games and on fishing trips. It was during these times that I learned about integrity through observation.
My father and stepdad are/were men of integrity as well. So were many other men and women in my family. I was very fortunate in that way.
My grandfather owned his own business. Although it was relatively small compared to today’s standards, it was successful. Why? People trusted him and he always did excellent work. Through its success, my grandfather was able to buy a house, a few apartments, and a couple of commercial properties. He never got rich, I don’t think he was interested in that, but he did acquire a fair amount of wealth. He attained great wealth in the areas of respect, friendship, and love.
During my teens, I wasn’t always behaving with 100% integrity. It was more like 90%. As I’ve grown older, more mature, and wiser, my integrity has gotten stronger. Today I strive to maintain 100% integrity. Because of my much different life experiences and generation, my integrity has refined in certain ways that have surpassed my grandfather, and dads. As it should be. They grew up during an era that repressed and limited truth, knowledge, and personal freedom.
While working in the corporate world, I followed the example of my grandfather. I felt then as I do now, that people’s trust of me due to what I learned about integrity from my grandfather, was central to the success I achieved.
When my grandfather died, I was not entirely surprised to see former apartment and commercial property tenants (renters) and customers at his funeral. One of his apartment tenants, who he’d given a break on rent during a hard period, flew in from the other side of the U.S. Several friends came from far away as well. These are the fruits of integrity. I know my grandfather enjoyed these rewards throughout the time I knew him. I saw it countless times.
Many people see integrity as something that is limited to its definition. It’s not. The words in the definition, which I believe is too narrow, are the foundation on which integrity is built.
- The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Source: Oxford online
- A life lived with integrity, even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune, is a shining star in whose light others may follow in the years to come. – Denis Waitley
- Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. – Samuel Johnson
- Integrity is making sure that the things you say and the things you do are in alignment. – Katrina Mayer
- When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity – regardless of what others may do – you are destined for greatness. – Napoleon Hill
- Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. – C. S. Lewis
- It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one. – Zig Ziglar
- Integrity is your destiny. It is the light that guides your way. – Plato
Here are the attributes of a person with integrity.
Here are the behaviors of a person with integrity.
- Does as agreed
- Does as promised
- Follows through
- Takes responsibility
- Puts others first
- Acts with fairness
- Acts with kindness
- Acts with compassion
Here are the attributes of a person without integrity.
Here are behaviors of a person without integrity.
Do the descriptions of the person without integrity remind you of someone? If a person without integrity is the leader of your country, company, or group, then severe damage can happen to you, people you love, and the lot. Be the change, lead the change, or leave.
We are imperfect. In the heat of the moment, while under pressure, we sometimes fall short of integrity. When this happens, a person with integrity can immediately correct the error, if sensible, or make a personal commitment to do the right thing next time.
To your integrity,