Of all the pieces of advice that I have ever heard and internalized there are few that are as significant to me as living with integrity. When I started applying this advice to my life, I began to see major changes take place that resulted in me being where I am today.
To live with integrity involves two aspects. The first aspect is fundamental to understanding what exactly integrity is. Simply stated, let your yes, be yes and your no, be no. Living with integrity means that you are going to do what you say you are going to do without any hint or indication otherwise. When you give your word and follow through with the appropriate action you will see that not only you feel a sense of accomplishment, but you will establish trust with others that rely on you. Following through when you have given your word is often more difficult as time passes and circumstances change. Because of the tendency for things to change, it will help to understand that when you do say “yes” to something or someone, you are in fact saying “no” to everyone else in the world. This will not help you decide how to act in the event of changing circumstances. It will however, help you make an informed decision in the beginning, which will help alleviate any decision making pressure in the future (because you will be reminded that you already made your decision).
If the first aspect of living with integrity can be considered the “public” aspect of integrity, then the second aspect would be the “private” aspect. Living with integrity also requires you to act in the same manner when are alone as when you are being watched. This again sounds simple enough, but if it always came naturally it would not be worth saying. The danger with this aspect of integrity is that there is no one to hold you accountable to it. If we choose to act a different way when we perceive that no one is looking we are lying to those who observe our actions. Our actions play a large part in defining who we are. Another reason to have integrity in our actions when no one is watching is because they directly influence our integrity with other people.
The dangers in choosing to live life without regard to integrity are as numerous to the benefits of choosing to live a life with integrity. To simplify the ramifications of each side I will say, your integrity will prove how much you value others and it will prove how much you value yourself.