"You cannot lead a powerful effective life nor achieve real happiness if you do not have integrity. Never shortcut it as it always has negative consequences, not always in short term results, but always over the long term and always in how you feel about yourself."
Integrity: the vital overarching foundation for personal power/happiness
Integrity factor, the
The reasons why not to be in integrity - and the "scale"
Strengthening the integrity side
Lessening the illusory fear side
What it is not
Responsibility factor, the
Live your values, standard, rules, not someone else's
Impeccable with what you say
Authenticity factor, the
Taking stands, making commitments
Ethics (not morality)
Will you make the commitment?
INTEGRITY IS THE VITAL OVERARCHING FOUNDATION FOR PERSONAL POWER AND FOR HAPPINESS
While we have many characteristics under Power In Life, they all fit under the overarching realm of integrity. One need only ask the question "Is this action 'in integrity' and one is at the same time including responsibility, character, compassion, etc. and etc., for they are all pieces of the whole - and integrity is about keeping the "whole" intact, in strength, so that there is a powerful platform upon which to run one's life!
INTEGRITY = The state of being whole, entire, or undiminished. (Dictionary.com)
Fully integrated and consistent.
Adherence to moral and ethical principles. (The Random House Dictionary)
(Note that "ethical" merely refers to "what works for the greatest good for those concerned" See the distinctions between Ethics And Morality. In this definition, you are not integrous if you are not acting consistently with the principles that work in life.)
Integrity is not really an issue of being moral or righteous or "right". It is simply a condition of acting consistently with the principles that work, with each part being in alignment with the other parts.
To act otherwise will not work in life. One can think that he can "get away with" not acting in integrity, but that is an illusion. You will not "get away with it", as violating reality principles will always create conflict with what works - which means you'll be doing some of "what doesn't work". Actions and/or beliefs that do not align with reality will clash with the real world. (See What Is Reality? - Know What It Is Or Suffer From Irreality!)
We make integrity into a concept based on right/wrong or good/bad or one of "fault". We manipulate it to fit with some concept of being good and approved of by others - which is a use that is entirely inconsistent with the definition of integrity.
Integrity is simply about "what works". Nothing more, nothing less.
Instead of something to impress others or get approval from them (from the 'outside in'), it is a viewpoint, a mantel you take on as part of who you are. In this viewpoint, you see that it works and that it is a "value" that is extremely valuable to living a good life. It comes from the inside out, from the values you hold. It is you creating your own (sub)game in life. See Overview Of The Games In Life - Playing The Right Ones, Discarding The False Ones.
Obviously, as everyone writes about, integrity includes doing what you say you will do; you even keep promises to yourself.(1) If you don't keep your promise to others, you are acting inconsistently with what you said and, usually, against the interest of the other.
In that case, you are said to be "out of integrity".
But we often fail to see that if we promise ourselves and discount it or let ourselves not keep the promise, we are hurting ourselves in the long run and often the short run. A viewpoint of integrity is one where we know that our world will not work for us whenever we are "out of integrity" - we will incur problems over and over and over.
IT'S A SUPER-GAME - WITH THE BIGGEST REWARDS
Operating in integrity is a "means goal". The game is played on the reality field of life, with the rules being those of the physical world where all that counts is actual results. The strategies are to follow the rules to get the most "points." Points are earned for each personal life value unit attained by following the rules.
I have written a book that aligns with the ideas above and I've called it Life Value Productivity, for it lays out many strategies, laws, and rules to which to operate on in integrity so that you can get the ultimate value in life. See the article on this site: Life Value Productivity and link to the almost costless Kindle book from there. It is a manual for running your life.
Remember, however, that using "integrity" as a moral value or a right/wrong-good/bad judgment is absolutely not a valid or useful game or strategy.
BEING IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
Don Miguel Ruiz, in The Four Agreements, refers to an overall master concept beyond even keeping your word. It is the first of the agreements. "Very simply to be impeccable with your Word is to use your Word in the direction of love and truth." (Toltec Spirit site) Although this may seem like spiritual or New Age nonsense, it is simply referring to being in integrity with progress and what works to create real value. Love is a word used to mean "for the good" and "truth" simply means reality (in which "workable principles" is, of course, a part). So, the two together simply mean aligning with reality and the principles that work in life for the good of oneself and others. See this as part of Powerful Languaging - More Impactful Than You'd Normally Think.
If you are to be in integrity, you would pledge to be impeccable with your word - and to see that it is what will work in this world for your own greater good.
ACTING IN INTEGRITY
Even the Bible suggests that "Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out." Or "will slip and fall." If one acts "not in integriy" one will suffer the (bad) consequences.
One must do complete, excellent work or one will not gain the rewards in life, for one is not operating consistently with delivering value and/or not "sufficiently" doing his work. See Completion - The Process Creating Great Power. Doing excellent work is "what works" to produce value in the world.
These are other examples of acting in integrity:
Not having any disempowering behaviors or attitudes (no "sabotaging" or hidden "againstness")
Being impeccable in being truthful and honest.
Being excellent and skillful in what you do.
Always engaging in "fair exchange" that is honest and open. Delivering the value that you know is the right thing to do, even if it is above what the client might expect.
It includes keeping ALL your promises. And if there is something "wrong" (not "right"), you fix it as soon as possible to the extent that you've removed ALL harm. This includes keeping the time promise.
And it includes making no excuses or coming up with "reasons why not" or any victimhood stories.
(See the sidebar articles with more examples. Integrity includes "completing" on effectively installing integrity! See the note before those articles
A POWERFUL WHOLE
In order to act as a coordinated powerful whole, one needs to learn how all the parts work and how to operate them AND to decide what the intended results are for one's life and what one's values are, including who they want to be.
All those parts when acting consistently with who you are comprise integrity, AND they also are what comprise focused power.
Pretending or holding on to the idea that one is, though a grown up, still a child believing unexamined and untrue beliefs is far "out of integrity". To be in integrity, one must acknowledge and take on the mantle of being a Rational, Nurturing Adult.
EXCUSES, FUDGE FACTORS, AND REASONS WHY NOT
There is the old saying that you can have either of two things: Success or reasons why not. When we allow little fudges here and there, when we suggest to our children that they shouldn't cheat and we cheat on our income taxes, when we cover up something we have done (in order to fool someone), when we "make it ok" to not be in integrity just this one time...and on and on, we are being "not in integrity" - and we will experience the consequences that inevitably result (not every time but often) - and those consequences will not be the results you want to show up in your life.
(Note, again, that this is not at all a moral judgment. It is simply about "what works.")
THE REASONS WHY NOT TO BE "IN INTEGRITY"
When our inner world is that of fear, we have fear dominate. In that world, we use right/wrong and good/bad as moral judgments of others or ourselves. But in a world that is not about moral judgments, nothing else exists but the criterion of "what works and what doesn't work" (which is in the world of integrity).
In the fear world, we use excuses, justifications, reasons. In the integrity world, we don't morally (pejoratively) judge and we don't add a story about something - we just seek out what would work, with no blame, no make wrong, no "bad" label attached to it.
If one is "being integrity" as a chosen way of being (i.e. creating it as who you are), one just keeps going back to "facts, desired result(?), what do I need to do/be to have it work(?)". As mentioned elsewhere, one simply asks "what's so?", says "so what?", and answers "now what?", in rapid fire fashion, getting on with life and getting results without dilly dallying (see Good/Bad, Right/Wrong Vs. Workable).
In the other world, one takes shortcuts and has that be because it is "too hard" to put out the effort to go "the long way around." However, that excuse/reason buys a very small time savings but for a huge price. (And, believe it or not, it is more efficient and effective to "be in integrity" - i.e. you'll get more done - without taking the shortcuts to save time or effort.)
The most common "shortcut" is to getting short term "relief" from some current uncomfortability, at the expense of the long term. When you grow up from acting in this child way and go for the long term benefits, you will see your life take a giant leap upward.
"But I'm afraid" (or "it hurts" or "I'd lose the deal without the bribe") are all actually just "beliefs" that you think are real. And with those beliefs you actually create your emotional pain - needlessly!
Living in integrity has the highest payoff of all, but to do that one must diminish the imaginary other side of the scale that you think may be greater:
Integrity __________________________________________ Fear
this side this side
STRENGTHENING THE INTEGRITY SIDE
We strengthen this side by learning about it, gaining clarity and knowledge and distinctions about integrity. This takes us to Level 1, which is helpful, but limited.
Next, we learn even more and try to practice it, so that we know how to apply our knowledge and get better at applying it. This takes us to Level 2.
We fully resolve and fully commit, fully acknowledging the value of it and the "why" of it. This takes us to Level 5 and beyond. Reinforcing it and re-choosing it each day takes us further. When we take it on as our viewpoint that we own, with no excuses, then we look at the world through that lens and go into being in full power - full power is the ability to produce the controllable results we want in life, asking only "what will work?", with zero time making up stories, reasons, excuses, rationalizations, justifications, and the like - and as a result of not putting our effort elsewhere all of our energy goes to our power/creating.
The power of consciously choosing how you will be and what viewpoint you will look at the world from would best be fully understood. It is discussed in more depth in Being.
Consider reading "Winners Never Cheat," by Jon Huntsman, the super-successful billionaire whose aim is to give away his entire fortune to serve others. This is based on his wisdom and his chosen qualities. A great learning experience that will reinforce the absolute value of integrity - the most valuable character trait of them all!
LESSENING THE ILLUSION FEAR SIDE
In all of life we have what pulls us toward something and/or what pushes us away from something. In all cases, our power is best used to go toward something we intend to have, do, or be. What pushes us away from something produces no power, wastes time, and does not feel good. In fact, the latter is the source of suffering.
"I'm afraid because I might be embarrassed" is a belief that lies on top of other supporting beliefs (such as "I must look good" or "I must be approved of", which in turn lies on top of "I'm dependent" and "I'm powerless, a little being without full power", which in turn lies upon, believe it or not, a vague belief that if one is not loved one will not survive!).
Since we, as humans, naturally want to go away from pain, we spend alot of our lives avoiding it - but what we seek relief from is actually not something that is real, but something we made up from the point of view of dependency and some level of powerlessness, as a belief. (At this point, many people will protest: "I am fully grown up, not some dependent child. You're insulting me." No, I am not judging you nor insulting you, I am just pointing out a reason why you're not getting what you want in life and not being in full power at times.)
One MUST understand the basis for what are false fears (that have been kept in place and never fully examined) and then decide to replace those false beliefs with beliefs that line up with the real, physical world. Few fully realize how important this is - and they stop short of it, either because of not realizing the impact or thinking "it is too hard", which is based on another false belief.
Spend time on this replacing of false beliefs and the full installation of true beliefs until you feel virtually fearless - don't stop before that!
An indication of reaching this point is no longer believing any form of "not being good enough," "not being able to be fully powerful,"being powerless", not being able to tell the truth, not following through on your self promises and not engaging in any form of blame, shame, right/wrong, or good/bad - all of those beliefs are a result of living, at least partially, from a viewpoint about life that is not workable.
You'll visit each of those areas of this website and not sign off until you've fully replaced those beliefs and all beliefs that support them. There is nothing more productive for your time than doing this. Go to the Beliefs section to start the process. Yes, you can increase the level of your integrity by using the strengthening side, but I do not believe you will be in your full power and integrity until you've handled the other side. (Two opposing forces = a problem. Removing one side = no problem. Learn fully what problem solving actually is, as it is a vital skill for creating happiness and effectiveness in life!!!)
Go ahead and start with the integrity strengthening side now and work on the other side progressively and expeditiously over time.
WHAT IT IS NOT
In defining integrity, we might define what is "not integrity":
Anything that diminishes you,
Takes away from you, or
Is inconsistent with who you are
All these give away and diminish your power, so they are the opposite of integrity.
___ I CHOOSE AND COMMIT TO BE IN INTEGRITY, IN THAT I KNOW IT
WORKS AND IT IS CONSISTENT WITH, AND THE ONLY WAY OF, MY
THE RESPONSIBILITY FACTOR
Within this factor is the choice to be a Rational, Nurturing Adult, applying reason from a high resourcefulness perspective and nurturing oneself, as if you were being the caring parent of a child. You choose to not choose the Child persona. See Responsibility Vs. Victimhood. A sure sign of not being responsible is that one is violating what one "knows" as being best or engaged in any "right/wrong" or being "in upset" about something.
LIVE YOUR VALUES, STANDARDS, RULES
Of course, in order to do this, one needs to identify (and possibly even create) one's values.
TAKING STANDS, MAKING COMMITMENTS
In this arena of integrity, you take stands (and don't just go with the drift) and you make commitments, which you keep. LifeSpring does a good job on this!
ETHICS, NOT MORALITY
Morality is largely a set of values determined around right/wrong, mostly society. If you don't adhere to the "moral standards", you are judged to be immoral. (Read Ethics, Morality.)
The right/wrong world is not the world I choose to live in or create.
I choose to live in the "what works" world. And, as such, I choose to be ethical, attempting to judge for myself what will create the greatest total good for all concerned.
Or another way of saying it, another "construct":
"Doing that which creates the greatest number of total units of good for all
concerned, and doing no harm."
Operating "in ethics" means that
You don't cheat a bit to get a bit more, realizing that cheating does not
enhance your long-term power, and in fact diminishes it.
You do not play win-lose or lose-win; you play win-win.
THE AUTHENTICITY FACTOR
You speak not hiding who you are nor compromising your values (though always working toward a win-win). This is honesty, but it is more about being who you are absolutely, out there in the world.
You ask authentically and caringly for what you want and you do no manipulations that do harm or try to create control by harmful means.
WILL YOU MAKE THE COMMITMENT?
I commit to:
___ Creating the greatest good for all concerned and doing the best I can to create
no harm, within the bounds of being sure to take care of myself in integrity.
___ Living in integrity, true to myself, my values, being consistent with the whole
Committed to this ____ day of _______________________, ____________
Leaders in the field and in philosophy:
Reading about this from the leaders in the field is a useful exercise. Please be complete about this, enough to develop "sufficient knowing" to be able to do it virtually without fail. Stephen Covey - Read his key books as the foundation for living an effective life!
"What's the point of wealth if you lose your integrity as you chase it?"
The Integrity Project - Investigating the value of integrity, and the price of doing without it - "Even without a Greek word for ‘integrity’, Plato looms large in our understanding of the nature and value of integrity."
Take 100% Responsibility For Your Life
Clean Up Your Messes And Incompletes
Speak With Impeccability
Keep Your Agreements
...and much much more
Dr. Henry Cloud writes on success in business, but it might as well be about life:
A RESTATEMENT OF WHAT INTEGRITY IS...
To be clear, I repeat a section of what is above, but this time use these statements as a testing of your integrity. Check off those you are in compliance with and circle those that need to be corrected in order to be in integrity:
Integrity is about always engaging fairly in all "transactions" in honesty and openness. It is about delivering the value that you know is right and fair, even if it exceeds the original promise or even what the other party had thought was acceptable.
It is being impeccable with what you say. (See Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements.) You hold your promises with total honor and respect – and nothing (!!!) is above that.
It is about keeping all of your promises. And if there is something that would get in the way, letting the other person know as soon as possible.
This includes, of course, keeping the time promise (and not dismissing it in any way).
It is about doing what is of the highest value in life, instead of choosing lesser.
It is about deciding and weighing the value in life of breaking a promise in order to be able to create a higher value. (Such as if there would be damage to your person, healthy, emotional well-being that would be high, making an objective appraisal of the value of the alternative action compared to the damage done.)
It includes honoring the truth and not making any excuses or coming up with reasons-why-not.
It is about undoing any harm to the other person (or yourself), such that you take the person back to his/her original condition before the harm.
It is about honoring yourself and your body and your emotional well-being by not acting in a way to bring harm to them. (It is not just about with others. It is integrity with yourself.)
When integrity is installed in life, one’s life works. When it is not, the lack of all the pieces of life being whole and consistent causes problems to be created, with many problems left unsolved. Solving problems and being complete and expeditious with doing so is integrity itself – anything less lacks integrity. Many people are far out of integrity, but they consider themselves to have integrity. But they do not, as they are not doing those pieces that comprise integrity.
FOOTNOTES OF QUOTES OR SOURCES