Integrity Is the Real Bottom Line

integrity-female-firefighterThe dictionary defines integrity in terms of soundness of moral character, adherence to ethical principles and being unimpaired. Its Middle English root is related to integrate (to bring together as a whole) and integral (complete and whole).

These references to wholeness rightly suggest that integrity affects all aspects of our lives, which is why it is like a healthy investment portfolio filled with blue chip stocks such as honesty, fairness and loyalty.

Integrity that strengthens an inner value system is the real human bottom line. It means that you don’t base your decisions simply on being politically correct. You do what’s right, not what’s fashionable. You know that truth is absolute, not a device for manipulating others. And it’s not just in the major decisions that this quality is needed.

Complete integrity in little things is no little thing at all. As has been said many times, “The devil is in the details” and “elephants don’t bite, but fleas do.” There are no degrees of integrity. You have it or you don’t. Being slightly dishonest may be a safe adventure for a time. But one day, inevitably, little details will be noticed and the piper will have to be paid. Your word is more valuable than a surety bond.

What you are speaks so loudly no one can really hear what you say. If what you do matches what you say, your life will speak forcefully indeed. In people, we value honesty more than any other virtue. We expect it from our leaders. We must demand it from ourselves.

This week and from now on, “seek the truth,” and “speak the truth.”

—Denis Waitley

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