As professional golfer Ray Floyd was getting ready to tap in a routine 9-inch putt, he saw the ball move ever so slightly. According to the rule book, if the ball moves in this way the golfer must take a penalty stroke. Yet consider the situation. Floyd was among the leaders in a tournament offering a top prize of $108,000. To acknowledge that the ball had moved could mean he would lose his chance for big money. Writer David Holahan describes as follows what others might have done: “The athlete ducks his head and flails wildly with his hands, as if being attacked by a killer bee; next, he steps back from the ball, rubbing his eye for a phantom speck of dust, all the while scanning his playing partners and the gallery for any sign that the ball’s movement has been detected by others. If the coast is clear, he taps the ball in for his par. Ray Floyd, however, didn’t do that. He assessed himself a penalty stroke and wound up with a bogey on the hole. He lost $108,000 but not his Integrity!
He lost $108,000 but not his Integrity!
A storeowner interviewed a young man for a job. He asked, "If I hire you to work in my store, will you be honest and truthful?" The young man answered, "I will be honest and truthful whether you hire me or not." Over 1800 years ago, Marcus Aurelius said “If it is not right, do not do it. If it is not true, do not say it.” These are simple words from another time and place. Do the right thing and speak the truth.
Integrity is a difficult concept to define. I believe that people have an intuitive sense of what it means. I've found in my practice that when I talk to a client about their integrity being "on the line", they know what I mean. We're dealing with something "core", with some kind of centre to their personality, to their sense of themselves. Integrity is a value, like persistence, courage, and intelligence. It is your choice of values and resolution to live by those values that form your character and personality. And it is integrity that enhances all your other values. The quality of person you are is determined by how well you live up to the values that are most important to you. Integrity is the quality that locks in your values and causes you to live consistent with them.
A storeowner interviewed a young man for a job. He asked, "If I hire you to work in my store, will you be honest and truthful?" The young man answered, "I will be honest and truthful whether you hire me or not."
Integrity is the foundation of character. A person who has integrity also has an unblemished character in every area of his or her life. One of the most important activities you can engage in, is developing your character. And one of the best ways to develop your character is by consistently doing the same things that a thoroughly honest person would do in every area of his or her life.
To be totally honest with others, you first have to be totally honest with yourself. You have to be true to yourself. You have to be true to the very best that is in you. Only a person who is consistently living a life with the highest values and virtues is a person truly living a life of integrity. If you are always honest and true to yourself you cannot be false to anyone else.
The mark of people who have high integrity is, they always do the highest quality of work in everything they do. They are the people who are always totally honest with themselves in everything they do, and strive to excellent work on every occassion. People with high integrity realize that everything they do is a statement about who they are as a person.
Your integrity is manifested in your willingness to adhere to the values that are most important to you. It's easy to make promises but often very hard to keep them. But every time you keep a promise that you've made, it is an act of integrity, which in turn strengthens your character. As you act with integrity in everything you do, you will find that every part of your life will improve. You will begin to attract the best people and situations into your life. You will become an outstanding person as well as a success in everything you do.