When the author of two novels entitled “Legacy” and “Legacy 2006: Integrity” writes an article about why integrity is important, you’re in for some serious thought processes. We’ll start with this one: Your potential to be great can be unlocked when you confront your fears, refuse to be mediocre, and decide to dazzle yourself plus the wider world with your finest character traits. The key to releasing all that goodness is the decision to step out of your comfort zone, to experiment with new tactics and thought processes. The entire process comes down to one thing: Having integrity. When you have integrity, you leave a legacy of decency with every interaction and long after you’ve died. People always remember a person with integrity. They think of such people favorably for several good reasons.
A simple dictionary definition of integrity includes honesty, reliability, consistency, and sincerity.
Honest people don’t eat a co-worker’s lunch, or lie about having done so. Honest people pay bills on time, in full, and without disputing reality. You received the goods and services, and you pay for them, period. You promised specific goods and/or services, and deliver them as indicated. Written and verbal contracts are treated with respect. Honest people don’t cheat with money, rules, or expectations. People who interact with honest individuals know them to be reliable. They’ll do what’s expected of them. That’s one aspect of having integrity.
Consistency matters. People with integrity think and behave in a consistent manner. When someone claims to be chaste, and they are, know that the individual has the courage to resist societal norms to be promiscuous, flighty, superficial, and self-absorbed. When they engage in a sexual relationship, they remain faithful to the loved one. Online cheating is not an issue, and neither is real-time flirting. Consistent people honor their commitments. When someone claims to be honest in legal matters, and they are, know that the individual obeys laws or seeks legitimate means for allowing one or more exceptions to specific rules. They don’t make up the rules to suit their whims or someone else’s. If a person promises to teach a specific skill and does so, they proved that they are consistent. Being the person whom you claim to be, fulfilling promises is another aspect of integrity.
Sincerity is a hallmark of people with integrity. They mean what they say, and don’t behave differently. A compliment is genuine. Admonishments are made with fact-oriented observations, without vendettas.
People with integrity don’t harm anyone whom they perceive to be in their way. Integrity calls for open dialogue, not threats nor accusations. A person of integrity speaks to the point, with respect for the person involved in the situation, even if they must feign that respect.
Imagine being or interacting with a person who lacks any of the character traits described above. Think of the emotions that would develop: Anger, frustration, humiliation, despair. Fill in the blanks as you wish. Now spend time considering the question, “Why is integrity so important?” The answer will pop up in your mind, even if you struggle to put together the words that mean what you’re thinking. They just might be something along the lines of “Integrity is important because it is the basis for pleasant interactions and quality of life.” Think of all the politicians and anyone else who ever lied to you, failed to perform as promised, or betrayed your interests and wellbeing. They lacked integrity. That has a serious, harmful impact on the quality of anyone’s life. A person with integrity is a great individual. Release your inner greatness by heeding the thoughts above. Life is full of second chances.
Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.