Integrity is perhaps the most important part of a man’s character and is the essential cornerstone in the foundation for building a meaningful life. It’s doing the right thing, even if no one else is watching or will ever know the difference.
“In matters of principle, stand like a rock.” -Thomas Jefferson
According to the dictionary, integrity is:
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness : he is known to be a man of integrity.
We commonly define integrity as the quality of having an intuitive sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to the motivations for one’s actions. It’s when our inner beliefs and the outer person we show to the world are a perfect match, in our thoughts, words and deeds.
Integrity is having the power to say “No” when “Yes” might be an easier answer and to be honest, not only with others, but to ourselves as well.
A life lacking integrity is like a boat without a rudder- aimlessly wandering, depending upon which way the wind blows. Just this past week I was reminded of this in a painful way.
My husband and I are looking to buy a property in Montana. We had a specific one that we fell in love with and tried to purchase more than a year ago, without success. The property came back on our radar this past week as the list price dropped more than $75,000 from where it was listed only a year ago. At that price it made sense, so I called the seller directly. We’d kept in touch for the last year or so by email and I really liked him.
We could empathize with him having to sell his dream property, and knew from experience how painful that can be. A year ago when we attempted to purchase the property, we even wrote in the contract that he and his wife could use our guest room for a week every year for five years- in hopes that this would help him with the process of letting go of the property. He was touched by the gesture of kindness.
I called him three days ago and told him that we’d be writing an offer through our broker. Since he lives in Florida and I wanted to save time, I wanted to negotiate all the terms with him on the phone, We spoke for a few minutes and I made an offer, which he said was a little lower than he’d like. He then asked me if the same generous gift still stood- for he and his wife to visit and stay with us. I told him that I gave him my word on that more than a year ago and it was important for me to still honor our agreement. He told me how impressed he was, that we would still keep our word even a year later and shared that our integrity meant so much to him that he wanted to sell his property to us.
So, we met in the middle and agreed on a sales price. I sent him the contracts that afternoon and he told me he’d sign and send them back immediately. The next day was my birthday so my husband and I went out to celebrate the purchase and the upcoming special day.
By the next morning when we still hadn’t received the contracts back, I was concerned. Late that morning, I received a call from the seller informing me that rather than signing our contracts, he’d signed contracts to sell the property to someone else the night before- just after he and I agreed on our deal. I was stunned! We had agreed on a price the night before AND had a long talk on the value of integrity. Yet, he just sold the property to someone else after we had an agreement!? The seller told me the other party offered a higher number and said, “This is about money- and you would do the same thing”.
This wasn’t the news I was expecting to receive, especially on my birthday morning. I was devastated, not only at losing the property, but at the blatant lack of integrity that was displayed by his actions. I tried to be positive and remember that this just meant that something better must be waiting for us.
This experience taught me that sadly, integrity is something that most people would say that they have, yet when push comes to shove and money is involved, integrity is the first thing to go.
It also made me ask myself, would I have done the same thing? Would I have sold my word for a greater profit? I’d like to think that he was wrong and that I would value integrity over money or personal gain, for if it’s fickle and negotiable, it’s not integrity. Integrity is holding fast to our convictions regardless of the consequences and never compromising our ideals or values, even if it affects the bottom line.
In his shoes, I’d like to think that I would have valued our relationship, reached out and explained the situation and found a way to still make it a win-win . Integrity is too important to toss aside without concern, or worse yet, to sell out for a price.
Integrity is one of the most important parts of life, for without integrity, little else matters.
I’d love to hear your thoughts from your experiences and how integrity has made you a better person. Please feel free to share with us in the comment section below. Also, add your favorite quote on integrity to our list. Thank you for your contribution!
“Honor is better than honors.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” – W. Clement Stone
“Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.” – Don Gale
“Integrity is the essence of everything successful.” – Richard Buckminster Fuller
“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” – Chinua Achebe
“It’s not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.” – Francis Bacon, Sr.
“Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you know he never will.” – John D. MacDonald
“Integrity has no need of rules.” – Albert Camus
“Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz
“Who sows virtue reaps honor.” – Leonardo da Vinci
“Integrity can be neither lost nor concealed nor faked nor quenched nor artificially come by nor outlived, nor, I believe, in the long run, denied.” – Eudora Welty