What does integrity mean to you?

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Integrity is undervalued in today’s society. Many are willing to undercut and do the bare minimum for what they feel is gain. Many are willing to lose their soul for fame and fortune, stepping on the very people who were supportive when they had little.  The world has become entitled, losing it’s morals and values in the process. 

Three scenarios:
On starting a new job, you notice your colleagues take well over an hour for lunch. It appears to be tolerated. Do you follow suit?

The sales assistant hands you extra change in error, on realising do you return to the store or walk away with glee?

You find a mobile phone on the train, do you hand it in at the train station or keep it?

This quote sums it up;

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From a young age most of us learnt to shed blame and use others as scapegoats i.e. “Jane did it so I thought it was okay to do it”.  It is only when our parents stepped in to correct us (mine certainly did!) that we took an element of responsibility for our actions. 

We should not use others as a measure for the way we live our lives. We should set high standards for ourselves. We may not always meet them but the importance is that they exist in the first place. 

We will always be tested, on a daily basis in fact, it is entirely down to us to choose to do the right thing even when it costs.  Our word carries far more than we can ever imagine.  Our yes should mean yes. If we are unable to meet a need or complete a task, we should be honest and say so rather than committing and then backing out. 

Do you demonstrate integrity on a daily basis?

How important is integrity, to you?

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24 thoughts on “What does integrity mean to you?”

  1. I love the second quote, Phoenicia! It really speaks volumes about what integrity means. I do have to agree with you about what you said that these days, people are willing to compromise integrity, especially when it comes to getting ahead and reaching for their goals for the simple reason that everyone else is doing it. The saddest part is that many of these do get their goal at the expense of other people, and they are quick to blame these people without any sense of remorse. Personally, I’d rather go the longer, harder road rather than take the shortcut if it means that I am able to keep my integrity with others.

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  2. I think integrity is not only deciding what is right or wrong, but also being consistent with your stand. Too many people might do the right thing one time, then do the opposite the other. They can be swayed by mass media, or by friends. If you do what’s right, or believe what is right, you should not change your opinion on it.
    Thank you for sharing this.

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  3. I think most people are honest–or maybe I should restate that as the people I allow into my world are honest. Does that clarify? I try very hard to be a person of integrity–it is the singular thing that I can always have on hand to define me. So I look for that trait in my friendships and all relationships in my life. If people don’t have that, what do we have to base our relationship on?

    The quotes are quite apt, Phoenicia. I certainly make mistakes, but try hard to rectify them.

    Trader Joe’s once did not charge me for something–a bag of nuts perhaps. The next time I went back I bought the same item and told the clerk to charge me twice because of the previous error. He was so surprised he said: “Nope and I’m not charging you for that bag either!” Great customer service and a great reaction.

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    1. We tend to gravitate to those who are most similar to us.

      How noble of you to offer to pay for the nuts. The sales assistant probably did not know what had hit him – you probably restored his faith in humanity!

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  4. I’ve worked in sales, and certainly there are sales sharks who abandon integrity in their quest to have high sales numbers. It would always shock me when I would see someone blatantly lie or steal. Unfortunately, people can be rewarded for being amoral. However, I’ve still met many truly honest, good people, so I try not to let the few bad apples get me down about the rest of the good people out there.

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  5. I have always loved the quote, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching.” I value integrity greatly. I have been pleasantly surprised when learning of people finding things of value and returning them. I don’t think everyone lacks integrity. Fortunately. Good post.

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  6. Well said Phoenicia and I have a simple definition of integrity – it’s doing the right thing even when nobody else is watching. It is a value that is extremely important to me, and you are so right, one that tends to be undervalued these days. Thanks for the inspiration and for starting the conversation!

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  7. To me integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Pity most people lack integrity. That’s the way it has always been and will always be, unfortunately.:-)

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  8. I like the quote you started off with – Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching. It is easy to go along with the crowd but one I’ve never been comfortable with.
    I remember one time I found $20.00 on the floor at a fast food place and I turned it in to the cashier. My friends who were with me thought I was crazy. Quote – “She won’t turn that in, she”ll keep it”. – I told them that was her problem, not mine. We all get the opportunity to do what is right – I made my choice, whether the cashier did or not was up to her.

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    1. Good on you Lenie!

      Many years ago, I found a wallet with the owners full name, place of work and cash. I posted the wallet to the owner’s place of work the following working day. My friends questioned my decision.

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  9. Great examples of everyday situations where we get a chance to – do the right thing. I used to deliver a corporate training program about leadership ethics and referenced similar quotes to what you give here Phoenicia. Like, “It’s easy to know what the right thing to do is, but not as easy to do it.” Thanks for making us – think.

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  10. This issue is one where I also feel great passion. I always tell my nephew, “Doing the right thing is almost never doing the easy thing.” I too feel that so many have wandered from the path of integrity…redesigned it to suit them. Even though doing the right thing has caused me heartache at times, I’m still with you. Right is right. Even when a herd beckons towards a different path.

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