To Live Integrity is the third of the Five Golden Rules for Effective Action and describes one of two – what I call – action attitudes.
How does Integrity help me achieve my goals ?
When you look up integrity at Merriam-Webster.com you find these meanings:
I strongly believe that integrity with all of its meanings has immense value for all situations in life. To Live Integrity may easily be the most complex rule of the Five Rules for Effective Action, but also the most powerful.
We need to firmly follow our own principles of which one has to be honesty. If we cannot be honest to ourselves or others then how much sense does it even make to set goals? A person with integrity follows up on mistakes and is accountable for his/her own actions.
We have good traits and bad traits. And often it is our flaws that define us and make us who we are. If we are in balance with who we are and have learned to live with our imperfections then this is my understanding of soundness. Because when we are in balance then we function unimpaired. However, if there are habits that bother us then we should work on loosing them if we live integrity.
At last we should strive to be to reach completeness in what we do and how we do it. And also to give undivided focus to what we doing and to be consistent in how we do it.
I really hope you get the picture.
A few examples:
1) At work you forgot to send an important package to a client. It will arrive one day late. When the client asks for the package on the expected delivery date you suggest that maybe there is a problem with the carrier or that your own mail division may not have acted fast enough on it. You tell an innocent convenience lie so that you don’t have to admit to have caused this delay. Of course you feel bad, but you may quickly forget this negligible incidence until the next convenience lie helps you out of the next situation.
“No, I really left home in time but there was so much traffic.”
“I did not forget to buy the apples but the store didn’t have any that looked good enough.”
“I could not send the email because there was something wrong with our internet connection”.
We are not mean-minded, we really do feel sorry, but we don’t want to admit the mistake. If we keep doing this it can become a habit to blame someone or something else for our mistakes, which makes us victims. And victims have no control. Victims do not make active choices or initiate change.
2) You decide to go jogging every Thursday, but one Thursday it rains and you don’t want to jog in the rain. But that is not what you tell yourself or others. You decide that you must have caught a cold and that is the only reason. Or even better you say you only wanted to avoid catching a cold while jogging in the rain. It is actually very responsible of you to stay healthy with all you obligations …
And again the problem is not that your broke your own rule, the problem you invent a reason that makes the rule to appear unbroken on top of it. That actually breaks the dam for a flood of other ‘reasons’ to not go jogging in the future. You made the situation worse. Sure you feel bad because you did not jog. If you had been really sick you’d probably also be sad about not being able to keep up with your training regiment. So instead of creating the new rule that you only jog when it doesn’t rain – which would leave you with the question of what to do instead or when to jog instead for these cases -you are robbing yourself of the chance to act on it, because it was not in your control. You act like you wanted to jog, but that is not true.
3) You need to tell someone something unpleasant. This someone could be a client or a family member, the something could be that you have to postpone delivery or that you cannot come to a family event. So instead of telling your brother the first time you see him that you won’t make it to his birthday, you chose not to mention it – somehow hoping it would go away. Most of the time it doesn’t and then you make it worse by telling him in the last minute. If you had told him early enough you could have gotten that weight off your shoulders early, giving your time to think about something else instead. He may even have postponed the party to make it possible for you to come. By dividing your attention because you evaded the topic you usually gain nothing but lose a lot of valuable time.
Integrity also means for me to be fair to others and to live what I expect from others. Again, we are not perfect, but we should always strive to improve.
You can certainly be successful in many ways, but I strongly believe integrity pays off in the long term.
Just think with whom would you rather deal? With with someone who lives integrity or someone who doesn’t? Whenever you set a goal you need to be able to trust yourself and be honest about what you think you can achieve and what not.
To Live Integrity means building a habit of adhering to your own rules, trying to be in balance with yourself, striving for completeness, and putting undivided focus into everything you do.