In a world of uncertainty and unpredictability, where can we find integrity? To answer these questions and more, we must first determine the meaning of integrity.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, integrity is:
- firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility
- an unimpaired condition: soundness
- the quality or state of being complete or undivided: completeness
In this definition we see an overall theme of character, morality, and uprightness.
Does this sound like a common theme today? To me, the answer is simple – we have fell prey in society to a deterioration of integrity. I am not immune.
Sadly, I must admit falling short in all areas during the course of my time on earth. However, it does not preclude me from beginning afresh each day with a renewed desire to live a life of integrity. Friend, neither should your own misgivings stop you from doing better each day.
We must reinvent integrity into the fabric of our lives first, then into the fabric of our society.
So how do we spur the re-ignition of the integrity fire in our own lives? Here are some simple and practical keys that are certain to nurture integrity.
1. Guard your words.
Choose the words you speak wisely and with great thought. Pause before you speak. Don’t just spout off at the mouth without thinking.
Many times we speak without regard to the truth. Think carefully before you answer questions. Is it the truth or not? Speak the truth, and let your yes be yes and your no be no.
We try so hard to impress others; we weave stories that are greatly exaggerated. Make sure your words are like trusted gems that can be considered valuable and trustworthy.
2. Return calls and messages.
This is highly disrespectful to others when you do not return calls. It says loudly, “I don’t have any value for you or your time.” It further echoes, “I am much more important than you and do not have time for you.”
I know these words sound strong, but that is exactly the interpretation from not returning calls or messages. Email is much the same way. It is the theme of disrespect that must be halted. By returning calls and messages, you will build trust and show massive amounts of integrity in a world that is sorely in lack.
3. Arrive on time.
DO NOT BE LATE! If you are late, you again are showing great disrespect for another’s time. If you set an appointment, do it with thought and do not over-schedule where being late is likely. What this means is give yourself plenty of time to be on time.
I was taught that being 15 minutes early is being on time. If you are going to be late, at least call and let the person know. Do not think that being late is okay. It never was and never will be!
In a society where being late is expected, be on time. You will be greatly bless the other person by your promptness.
4. Do not overspend.
Don’t spend more than what you make and live within your means. This will be a great stress reliever for you and others around you. It will shape your integrity by learning to say no because your bank account doesn’t allow.
A good rule of thumb is this – live in agreement with your assets. If you don’t have the assets, don’t create debt. Overspending in trying to keep up with the Jones’, has ruined the integrity of our society.
Trust me; you will have much more in the long run by learning to live within your budget day by day.
5. Say please and thank you often.
Showing gratitude is equivalent to having personal integrity. We are all so blessed that taking the blessing for granted is commonplace. We can do better.
Simply by making requests with the inclusion of PLEASE and receiving blessing with words of THANKS, can add integrity to the very atmosphere. PLEASE and THANK YOU show tremendous respect and honor to the people in which you deal.
6. Own your failures!
It is not someone else’s fault all the time. This a big problem today. We live in a society of blame deflection. It is very healthy, but painful, to own your own failures. If you make a mistake (and we all do), just own it. If retribution is necessary, do it. If punishment is deserved, serve it.
Always own it and offer heartfelt apologies. Saying, “I am sorry,” can be a very freeing experience. Don’t follow the apology with the word ‘but’. That negates the entire thing and minimizes the original offense. Follow the apology with a period.
Owning your own failures is a critical key to the development of integrity.
Reinventing integrity is rebuilt one brick at a time. Integrity is not built overnight, especially when it has been damaged. In a society where integrity is collapsing, let’s make a real commitment to rebuild and reinvent it in our own lives.
Put these described steps into practice one day at a time. Do not get ahead of yourself. Just take it one step at a time.
Over time, the foundation of integrity will be reinvented in your life and become a mighty fortress of exemplary legacy for a long time to come.