Saturday, October 4, 2014

On Integrity

Integrity means being whole, unbroken, undivided. It describes a person who has united the different parts of his or her personality, so that there is no longer a split in the soul.

When your soul is divided, part of you wants to do one thing while another part wants to do something else:

Do you tell the perspective buyer of your home about the plumbing problem or do you keep quiet until he asks?

Do you spend money on a vacation or give it to charity?

Do you resist temptation or give in?

You are at war with yourself, and the struggle leaves you uncomfortable.

When you have integrity, all of your aspirations are focused in one direction.

Like the karate expert who can break a board with his bare hand by focusing all his strength on one spot, the person of integrity, the person whose soul is not fragmented, can do great things by concentrating all of his energies on a single goal.

For the person of integrity, life may not always be easy but it is simple: Figure out what is right and do it. All other considerations come in second...


During the 2000 presidential election, writer James Fallows posed the question: What makes an effective leader, whether in politics or business? 

His answer was ‘a sense of wholeness,' the feeling that the person is all of one piece, that there is a consistency to him, that he will be the same person tomorrow that he is today and will apply the same value system to one question that he does to all questions. 

That is why we often find ourselves saying admiringly of a candidate with whose positions we strong disagree, ‘At least you know where he stands.” 

Just as adolescents who are insecure about their bodies excessively admire the attractive or athletically gifted classmate, adults who are uncomfortable with their own moral inconsistencies admire the person who seems to ‘have it together.'

Kushner, H.S. (2001). What Kind of Person Do You Want to Be? In Living a Life That Matters (p. 87-89). New York: Anchor Books. 

Note: The paragraphs have been divided for emphasis in the blog.

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