A few thoughts on the matter: The following information is simply one person's opinion based on life experiences and a personal understanding of truth and honesty--which are part of the foundational aspects of true integrity.
4) Integrity is a guideline, a benchmark, a point of reference. Integrity is a goal that is used to make decisions that rely on truth and honesty. All things are related to this point of reference and judged accordingly. To maintain integrity, you must remember to refer to truth and honesty in ALL decisions, thoughts, actions and reactions. That is not an option if you are to have and maintain integrity in your life.
5) Integrity is something that a person builds and maintains during a lifetime. You can consider integrity as a building within a person's heart that starts when the person is young. This "building" begins with the first hole that is dug. Once the hole is dug, the foundation is laid—usually by parents and other leaders (i.e. educational or religious institutions). The walls follow with windows and doors added along the way. The windows allows for transparency and serves as a type of checks-and-balances. The doors allows for simple modification of a person's definition of integrity to enter into the training; trusting it's for the better. The roof is added later and serves to protect already established principles from negative outside forces.
6) Leaving the past where it is, picking up the pieces and moving on, is critical if you choose to "turn over a new leaf." Keys that lead to success in this endeavor include attitude, understanding, grasping the reins of life firmly and implementing a new and improved plan to pursue. This new endeavor allows tomorrow to be a clean slate for you. Let the past go and concentrate on the present and the future.
Looking back is important to learn from our mistakes—but leave it at that—looking back. Do not bring the past into the present or the future for any other reason, especially if the past is tainted in any way.
Make new memories. Memories that are ethical and moral. Make blameless memories that shout and echo integrity in your life.
7) It is important to think about the future in the present tense. That is to say, live life as though what you are striving for, has already happened and you’re already benefiting from its blessing. If you keep thinking of what you desire, integrity, as something you will experience in the future, it will remain there—in the future. Bring it into "today" and act as if you already have what you desire. Live that life now.
9) Integrity must be maintained. A janitor works as a caretaker and you must be like a janitor to maintain true integrity. If you avoid the dust that settles and do not remove the trash that accumulates, your (definition of) integrity begins to diminish, decay, and decrease in value. A strict maintenance schedule must be kept or the integrity that has taken a lifetime to build could come crumbling down in a matter of minutes.
11) It’s critical to note that integrity can be lost or compromised beyond recognition in a person's life. Having personally experienced this, I’m in the process of the life-long effort to re-establishing integrity in my own life. I must volunteer the fact that I find it’s not any easier the second time around.
Again, recognizing that either:
- integrity was never a part of your life in the first place
- integrity has been compromised or
- you have totally lost integrity from your life
...is the first step and perhaps the largest step of many to come. The second step is to do something about it—and that is to make the decision to plant a new seed and water it daily—even minute-to-minute.
13) To be honest is to apply integrity to a situation, circumstance or instance. It is important to note that honesty and integrity go hand-in-hand without exception or separation.
There are few things that complicate an issue or hurt more than dishonesty. At least honesty leaves a person with some sense of closure and dignity—despite the fact that honesty may sometimes hurt because the truth is revealed.
- will begin and continue as a personal ON-GOING decision to stand firm on inherently good principals
- will most likely take the long, straight and narrow road and does not cave into lying, cheating or stealing
- will tell the truth over a lie despite the consequences
- will face the consequences instead of compromising itself
- will help to steer a person clear of those that easily bow to a corrupt nature
- will lend a helping hand simply as a by-product of this exceptional lifestyle decision
- will diminish and eventually disappear if you choose to ignore and abandon its blessing
- will set you apart from people who chose to follow the lead of a popular drummer without integrity
- will sometimes separate you from the "in-crowd," but that is not always the case
- will, on some occasions, make other people feel uncomfortable around you because of their own insecurities, problems and guilt
- will impress some people only because of your decision to adhere to a (sometimes) difficult lifestyle
- will sometimes put you into tight situations that APPEAR to be needlessly difficult
- will allow for rebuilding. It will come back and continue to blossom if you choose and allow it to grow within
- will eventually result in blessing after blessing in your life and to those around you
18) You can live life the way you want. That is to say, for good or for evil. Before we move on, I would like to suggest the following story for your consideration:
During the middle ages (400-1400 A.D.) a great cathedral was under construction and employed many skilled laborers. One day a strange man came to town and asked several of the men what they were doing.
One man answered, "I have to lay this brick to feed my nagging wife and my many ungrateful children."
Another man answered by saying, "I am trying to pass the time until I die and at the same time keep myself afloat."
A man who would not look up said, "I am following my father's footsteps and doing what I am told."
An older man answered by saying, "I am a mason, this is what I do."
Yet another man was heard saying, "I do this because I have many debts to pay."
Then the stranger saw a young man laying brick who worked feverishly unlike the other workers. Intrigued, the stranger questioned this young man next.
After hearing the question, the young brick layer stopped, studied the yet unfinished building and answered by saying,
"I'm taking part in the greatest building project in history. A cathedral unlike any other in the world. One of surpassing beauty and size. This cathedral will be the greatest the world has ever seen. I am only laying the block, but my efforts will help this great cathedral to stand the test of time so future generations can marvel at, and appreciate its awesome beauty."
Needless-to-say, the previous story about the building of the cathedral reveals that it's not what you have to do, it's not what you want to do, nor what you think you should do. But instead it's about "how" you do all things in life.
How you do what you have to do, how you do what you want to do, and how you do what you think you should do, will determine your success.
You will "have to do things," You will "want to do things," and You will "think you should do things" your whole life, but it is the quality of how you do those things that ultimately matters.
Integrity plays a critical part in quality decisions, thoughts and actions. It will be obvious to others by how you act and react to expected and unexpected circumstances.
22) Everybody enjoys one or several types of music, regardless of their gender, culture, age or beliefs. Music is truly one of the few universal avenues for artists to express themselves where others will consider their art despite their social standing in society.
Virtually everyone enjoys listening to music, but few enjoy both listening to music and creating music. Some musicians are good; some musicians are great and there are those who are exceptionally gifted at creating music or playing an instrument. Regardless of the musician’s ability, all, even gifted musicians, must practice regularly.
I attended a concert recently where a fan of the featured musician anxiously walked up to his favorite performer after the show and said "You're an outstanding musician!"
The artist replied by saying "Thank you. I appreciate you saying so. I practice every day."
Just as the great musician must practice everyday to maintain a high-level of artistic talent, we too must practice implementing integrity into our every-day lives.
25) Practicing integrity occasionally is not acceptable if we are to benefit fully from the blessing integrity has to offer over a lifetime. Integrity should be allowed to flow freely in the mainstream of our thoughts and actions. That, realistically, does not happen overnight. It is a decision we must make every morning after we wake up. Integrity is a decision we need to REMEMBER to make every morning after we wake up, and throughout the whole day.
Studies show that if you do something twenty-one times in a row (but not like a robot in immediate succession), that "function" should be ingrained enough into your life, it becomes second nature.
A simple note on the bathroom mirror, one just above the door knob of your bedroom or some place where you are sure to see it every morning—for 21 days or more—should do the trick. Give it a shot.
27) You can do it.
Applying integrity into your daily life is as simple as a decision—one of many that will be based on wisdom, good judgment, discernment and knowledge.
Choose to incorporate integrity into your life today.
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November 12, 2013 9:49 pm PST
"I want to use your definition of Integrity as a form of Ministry to our Ministers wives who I would like to equip in knowledge, this word of Integrity . Which I know that it is important to have in our daily life. The way you interpreted this word or defined it impacted my life....I would like to share it with them in my meetings that we have every Wednesday!
Sincerely your servant,
Los Frenos Tx 78566
November 13, 2013 at 10:20 am PST
"Clearly inspired and obviously heartfelt, with a great deal of wisdom thrown in. It is an honor for the opportunity to be able to use this for my family's personal growth. Your name and website will always be noted for credit and reference. I appreciate your willingness to share this with the public.
October 14, 2013 @ 10:37 pm PDT
I am preparing a book as a Christmas gift for family of quotes and ideas from Lord of the Rings -- a theme of that seems to be integrity. I would like to use some of your quotes to support my points. This is just a one book-- just hand written for nephews and nieces.
Celeste, Texas United States
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8) Just as you can re-build a house when it falls down, you too can re-establish integrity if you fall away from its blessing. Note that in reality if a house must be rebuilt, it doesn’t happen in a matter of hours or days. It is a process that usually takes months and even years.
10) Integrity can also be considered like a plant. It is planted as a seed in youth by loved ones, watered in childhood by the individual and eventually blossoms in adulthood, producing fruit. The more you water it throughout life, the more it grows and blooms. As with all plants, if neglected at any point, they WILL wither and die. If your plant has died, simply plant a new seed. Water it daily and make sure it gets plenty of sun! Note that a plant does not blossom immediately but must go through a life cycle first. So, getting familiar with how integrity works will take a while.
12) Have no illusions; integrity is not especially easy. Again, just as you can find and implement integrity into your own life, so too can integrity be lost. Some of the most destructive things and destructive behavior in life are easy and simple to accomplish. One thing you can almost always count on in life;
If it’s worth anything of real value, it will probably not be easy to obtain.
One thing you can almost always count on in life; if it is worth anything of real value, it will probably not be easy.
14) Consider the cup that cannot hold water. A person that lives their life without integrity is like a cup that cannot hold water. The crack may not be visible to the eye, but if it doesn't hold up to the test, that cup is virtually worthless. Many people walk around with a small crack that is easily hidden, but time reveals the flaw to everyone.
- will not allow for decisions which may compromise personal belief and faith
- will not always APPEAR to help a situation
- will not be an easy decision for all situations
- will not be Disneyland-and-roses all the time
- will not give into peer pressure simply because everyone is doing it
- will not always, in an obvious way, come to the rescue
- will not guarantee friends--in fact, it may repel people from you--people you won’t want as friends
- will not fail you, ever. If it seems as though integrity has failed, time will reveal integrity did not fail
- will not break down--it may appear to, but it cannot be broken
- will not give up unless it is compromised by you
- will not force itself on anyone. Integrity must be received willingly
- will not exist where it is not wanted or appreciated
- will not discriminate. Integrity is available to everyone equally
- will not allow anything to separate honesty / truth from itself
- will not ask for, but will flourish with your gratitude and appreciation
- will not disappoint
17) Integrity helps to define love. Although many things collectively define love, Integrity is a little different because it plays a unique role in love. Integrity acts as a binder of the many things that help to describe the meaning of love. Integrity helps to keep together all the things that make-up love so that love is constant and pure. For example, without a binder such as water, bread would be nothing more than baked powder with seasoning. Paper would be a collection of loose fibers.
Integrity can help to define you by acting as a binder which keeps your words, your thoughts and your actions honest, worthy, and admirable to those around you.
19) Integrity always, without exception, benefits a person. Unfortunately the benefits integrity may offer are NOT always immediately obvious. In fact, sometimes the benefits of Integrity are not obvious for many years down the road. It is possible for a person to live most of their lives and not see the benefits of integrity until later in life. It is different for everyone and does not mean it is better or worse for you. It simply means it is different for you.
20) You can live life the way you want. That is to say, you can live your life for good or for bad. Nothing is stopping you from acting on any thoughts you may have--whether negative or positive. But, once you act on any negative thoughts, you will surely be in the cross-hairs of law enforcement before you get too far and your fate will be sealed.
The only thing that separates a crazy man from a normal man is...
...the crazy man does it.
People aren’t necessarily born either good or bad. It’s all about a choice and an attitude. We, alone, choose to be good or bad. Whether we’re good or bad is usually obvious by our perpetual attitude. That is to say, the sum or our persistent attitude will speak volumes of our intentions.
21) Integrity is NOT a one-time experience or situation. Instead, Integrity is an on-going experience of a collection of situations where sound decisions are made based on good judgment, discernment, wisdom and knowledge.
23) Integrity has its by-products. As you become more familiar with a lifestyle which allows for integrity to bloom wild and free, life is usually filled with more and more peace—a natural by-product of integrity. After a while of on-going decisions guided by integrity, other people begin to take notice. Employers begin to place more trust in you and your abilities. Friends rely more and more on your apparent wisdom. As a result, better decisions based on personal integrity inherently leads to a better life.
24) As a direct result of your decision to establish integrity within your life, you will gain favor with some people. Unfortunately some will hate you for it—which is another by-product. People hate other people for the strangest reasons. Someone dedicated to truth and honesty is a typical target for those who invite chaos and the misfortune of hate. There are many reasons for this misdirected hate, but a common reason is their own insecurity (referring to the person who hates). You must remember that people might be threatened by you because of your decision to maintain integrity. When it happens, let that hate roll past you like a beach ball rolling in the wind.
26) People can tweak or modify their definition of integrity to suit their current needs, desires and ambitions. For that reason, it is possible to have a large number of definitions of the word or state of affairs in a person's life—but that does not necessarily mean they are all sound definitions of integrity.
We, humans, must be careful, for we can rationalize ourselves into anything.
28) This personal definition of integrity is an attempt to offer an unbiased presentation of what integrity can and cannot mean. As the author, I must volunteer that:
- this definition of integrity is in no way the one-and-only true definition
- this definition of integrity may actually serve to corrupt someone's definition of integrity—BUT this definition has a sincere intention to help explain the many sides of integrity's purity and benefits so that the reader can decide for themselves
- this definition of integrity should help to answer some of the many questions people may have about integrity and the possible role it may play in a person's life, decision making, thoughts, actions and destiny
- this definition of integrity should broaden one's insight about how much of a role integrity plays in their daily life, even minute-to-minute
29) Choosing a wonderful life over (just) life can make the difference between success and failure, peace and chaos, love and hate, and integrity plays a key role in those decisions.
Choose to be like the young man laying the brick to build what he believes to be the greatest cathedral in all the world. Choose a good attitude.
Choose to plant a seed that will become the immovable oak.
Choose to be like the janitor that maintains a clean household.
Choose to be a cup that can hold water and is half full instead of half empty.