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Integrity: What It is and What it isn’t

You hear the word “integrity” thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? Is it being honest? Is it having strong moral character? Is it holding yourself to a high standard? 

In short, yes. But integrity is also so much more than that. Integrity is often misunderstood and misused, so in this blog post, we’re going to set the record straight. Read on to learn everything you need to know about integrity.

What Integrity Isn’t 

Before we get into what integrity is, let’s talk about what it isn’t. Integrity isn’t always being honest. In fact, sometimes honesty can be the absence of integrity. Let me explain. 

Imagine you’ve just been laid off from your job. You have a mortgage, car payments, and a family to support, so you’re desperate to find another job as soon as possible. A few weeks later, you finally land an interview with a company you really like. The only problem is that the interview is on the same day as your daughter’s school play. 

You could easily reschedule the interview, but your gut tells you that if you don’t go to the interview, you probably won’t get the job—and your family can’t afford for you not to get a job. So you decide to tell your daughter that her school play has been canceled and take her with you to the interview instead. 

Is this decision dishonest? Yes. But was it the right thing to do? In this case, yes. And that’s because sometimes integrity means doing what’s right instead of what’s honest. 

What Integrity Is 

Now that we’ve talked about what integrity isn’t, let’s talk about what it is. Like we said before, integrity is often misunderstood and misused, so in this blog post, we’re setting the record straight. Read on to learn everything you need to know about integrity. 

Integrity is Doing What’s Right Instead of What’s Easy 

Integrity is doing what’s right instead of what’s easy or popular or convenient or expedient. It’s making decisions based on principle instead of self-interest or expediency. It requires courage and fortitude and vigilance and at times extreme sacrifice. But it always yields positive results in the end—even if those results aren’t immediately apparent or even if they’re painful in the moment—because doing what’s right always leads to positive consequences eventually… even if those consequences take years or decades to manifest themselves in society at large or in our personal lives.

Integrity is an essential character trait that everyone should aspire to have. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it in the end. Do you have integrity? What does integrity mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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