If you research “integrity” on-line there’s all types of definitions that people seem to have woken up with this morning and posted. Also interesting is that many of them seem like “new agers” or Scientologists if you use Google search as your measure of who “ranks”. When I was 16 years old (I’m 45 now) I attended a week-long personal development conference called Insight, which, at the core, was designed to teach you personal integrity.
I found a description of personal integrity that I thought matched what I was taught.
“Personal integrity is the quality of being honest with yourself and others, and living a life that is aligned with your moral principles. Developing personal integrity requires examining your beliefs and value system, and taking conscious steps to behave in ways that are consistent with your personal moral code.” (you can find the whole article at http://www.wikihow.com/Develop-Personal-Integrity)
I went to the conference and understood the teachings and thought they were important, but didn’t live my life in alignment with them… at all, which only goes to prove that knowledge doesn’t always (or rarely) equal change. In fact, I couldn’t have been farther from practicing integrity at any level.
I’ve discovered a couple of things.
1) Personal Integrity is like anything simple but hard to execute. It’s a practice… like Yoga or meditation or meaningful and effective prayer. It’s easy to understand, hard to practice, almost impossible to master.
2) Personal Integrity is where all personal and professional development starts. You can’t climb any mountain that you would ultimately want to stand at the top of without personal integrity at the foundation. Oh, you can climb lots of mountains and trust me, you can make barrels of money that you can spend on whatever you choose, but at the end of the day, at the end of the climb, if you don’t have personal integrity you are going to be one very unhappy camper.
I’m more in alignment now and do my very best, daily, to practice personal integrity. The lessons that have taken me here have been quite painful ones and I miss the mark all the time. Just like Babe Ruth, though, who struck out way more times than he hit home runs, I keep stepping up to bat and swinging at it, though.