Integrity: The Essence of Everything Successful

By: Phoenix48

“The greatness of a man is not how much wealth he acquires but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”

Bob Marley

Integrity is a broad-ranging character trait that encompasses personal responsibility, accountability, and a commitment to adhere to a consistent moral and ethical code. Above all else, it is the ability to act in accordance with one’s core beliefs and values. Integrity is a character trait as opposed to a personality trait. Character traits refer to enduring qualities that define a person’s moral and ethical behavior, while personality traits relate to a person’s patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior style.

Integrity is the link between one’s core values and behavior. It is being true to who we are and who we wish to become.

Core Values vs. Core Beliefs

Values and beliefs are important concepts that form the foundation for our attitudes and behavior. Both influence our personality, character, perceptions and subjective experience. However, values and beliefs have distinct differences. Values are principles, ideals, or standards of behavior that we attempt to live by; a personal code. Beliefs are convictions about ourselves, others, or the world that we hold to be true (even if they are not). These deep-seated beliefs impact our values and attitudes. Both values and beliefs heavily influence how we define ourselves: Our character, personality, and behavior.

Core Values

Core values are a personal code consisting of criteria or standards that guide our evaluation of events, decisions, actions, and people. We decide what is acceptable or justified based on these core values. This process may be conscious or unconscious; sometimes we become aware of a core value only when presented with a situation requiring a decision with unclear or ambiguous implications.

Values are therefore standards of behavior that we consider important. All values are not necessarily created equal; we order them by their relative importance to one another. Examples of common positive values are honesty, courage, fairness, and humility. Values can also be negative and destructive. Common negative values are the exaggerated importance of material wealth, social status, and being right (all the time).

Core values are the values we hold most dear. They are the personal code we don’t compromise on, especially to fit in. This refusal to compromise our core values forms the backbone of integrity. It is honesty, both with yourself and others, about who you are and what you stand for.

Core Beliefs

Core beliefs are one’s principal ideas about themselves, others, and the world. They are central, strong beliefs held consistently over time. Core beliefs inform our worldview and self-perception; they are a system for how the world works and our place in it – they can be positive, negative, or neutral. Core beliefs also include beliefs and generalizations about others, both positive and negative, such as people are mostly good or people are mostly untrustworthy.

Core beliefs develop in early childhood and continue developing in response to life experiences. But because core beliefs develop so early, they are not always based on informed or balanced opinions. Additionally, we accept and unconsciously internalize beliefs handed to us from parents, teachers, friends, religions, and contemporary culture, including the media and internet. These internalized beliefs “gifted” to us may influence our worldview in either positive or negative ways. Core beliefs tend to be rigid and inflexible and are often unreasonable, inaccurate, and not based on evidence.

Examples of core beliefs are: I’m a good (or bad) person, other people are mostly good (or bad), I am lovable (or unlovable), I will succeed if I put in the required effort (or will fail no matter what I do), and life is mostly fair/unfair.

Core beliefs operate at a pre-conscious level and serve as a regulator for our personal boundaries. In other words, core beliefs may be considered a kind of unconscious input to our boundary system which itself behaves like a filter or lens through which every situation and life experience is viewed. Because of this, our core beliefs affect how we think, feel and behave in various situations.

To summarize, our core beliefs influence our core values, and both influence our personality, behavior, and experience.

Integrity Is Behavioral Alignment With Values

Integrity is the connection between core values and behavior. It is an inner sense of wholeness and consistency of character combined with a clear understanding of our personal moral code, which we strive for and model in our behavior.

Integrity is not the mere possession of values; everyone has values even if they are severely misguided. It is carrying our values into the real world. Integrity is an action. It is a decision to live by and execute our values – it is putting our money where our mouth is, despite adversity and opposition from others. Maintaining personal integrity is not an easy task and is often most difficult when others do not share your values. Living your values can be challenging especially if there are potentially significant negative consequences for yourself, others, or an organization you are a part of.

Other people and organizations are not the only obstacle. It is also a personal battle to avoid taking shortcuts, giving in to temptation, or avoidance of difficult situations. Integrity is essential to becoming and being a mature adult.

“Being an adult is doing what you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it. That’s what being an adult is!”

Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russel) to daughter Paige in “The Americans” television series

Although the unembellished definition of integrity is simply to live by our values on a consistent basis, the meaning of the term ‘integrity’ is often expanded to include the values and ideals of the broader culture – in the United States, Western culture. Let’s examine how different cultures interpret this expanded view of what it means to possess integrity, hereafter referred to as “Integrity” (integrity with the capital “I”.)

Western View of Integrity

The Western interpretation of Integrity places a high value on individualism and fairness. The United States (and many other countries) have established a legal philosophy known as the Rule of Law. Attributed to Aristotle, it conceptualizes a “government by laws and not by men.” Importantly, it also implies that the code of laws arose from the rights of the individual, and not vice-versa. As British lawyer and professor A.V. Dicey wrote (truncated for simplicity), “The ‘Rule of Law’ may be used as a formula for expressing the fact that with us the law of the constitution, the rules.. are not the source but the consequence of the rights of individuals..”

The Guilt Society

It is the high value placed on the rights of the individual, as well as the influence of Christianity in Western culture, that give rise to what author E. R. Dodds termed the “guilt society” in which the primary method of social control is the feeling of guilt for behaviors and thoughts an individual deems to be undesirable. In other words, guilt is a consequence of the violation of the internalized values and conscience of the individual.

Guilt therefore has a significant impact on integrity. When we feel guilty, it is usually because we have done something that we believe is wrong or harmful. This can lead us to question our commitment to our values, and if we are truly the person we want to be. We cannot maintain our integrity if we are making excuses for our behavior or trying to justify our actions.

Dr. Paul Hiebert characterizes the concept as follows: “Guilt is a feeling that arises when we violate the absolute standards of morality within us, when we violate our conscience. A person may suffer from guilt although no one else knows his or her misdeed; this feeling of guilt is relieved by confessing the misdeed and making restitution. True guilt cultures rely on an internalized conviction as sin as the enforcer of good behavior, not, as shame cultures do, on external sanctions.”

The following is a compilation of Integrity concepts valued by Western culture:


“Treat those who are good with goodness and treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest with those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.”

Lao Tzu

Honesty is more than simply telling the truth. It means being open and not taking advantage of others. It is, in the words of James Faust, “truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.”

Honesty does not entail sharing unnecessary information or telling the truth when the intent of the communication is hurtful or destructive. Using truth as a weapon is an immature “win-lose” behavior where one benefits, or at least has the subjective experience of “winning”, by making someone else lose and the truth is merely incidental and convenient. This behavior also often involves cherry-picking the facts to create an intended appearance to generate a desired outcome and is low character.

In the words of Richard Needham, “The person who enjoys being brutally honest enjoys the brutality quite as much as the honesty. Perhaps more.” There are exceptions, such as in a court of law, where the truth, regardless of whether it is hurtful or not, is necessary to resolve a legitimate dispute.

Honesty is therefore not a mindless devotion to being truthful. It is honesty about who you are and what you stand for. Honesty speaks to what you need to do, not only for your best interests but in the best interests of everyone. And sometimes the timing of honest communication is as critical as the content.

The best measure of a man’s honesty isn’t his income tax return. It’s the zero-adjust on his bathroom scale. Arthur C. Clarke

Integrity Includes Being Honest With Yourself

Being truthful with yourself is of paramount importance. The ability to honestly observe ourselves, our behaviors, and our motivations (observing ego) is the first element in self-actualization. That is, self-honesty is a requisite of “becoming everything you are capable of becoming” (Dr. Abraham Maslow).

Self-honesty is an exercise in courage and requires action in the face of fear. We can be fearful of the truth about ourselves because it can threaten not only our persona (or public mask, or “face” – how we would like others to see us) but also our egos.

However, no matter how much we spin it, no matter how much we pretend to be what we would like to be and have others think we are, we will always be what we are at our core at any given instant (this is not to say we can’t grow and evolve). We can hide what we are from the world and from ourselves for a time, perhaps decades, but in the end, we pay a price for being a fraud. Being true to yourself is important if you want to be proud of who you actually are.

Self-Honesty Furthers Empowerment

When you are honest with yourself and are aware of your weaknesses and flaws, other people’s judgments become less important. Additionally, you become less controlled by fears and anxiety because you are aware of your capabilities. The opinions of others won’t affect your morale, allowing you to move towards your goals fearlessly. Actor Jack Nicholson was once told by his first acting coach to consider finding another career (he didn’t listen).

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. Groucho Marx

When you are honest with yourself, you will gain clarity about what you want in life. Others may try to dictate your priorities for you, but if you are honest about your needs, wants, and wishes you can set your own priorities (for yourself at least). It becomes possible to put in more effort to achieve what you want.

Being honest with yourself has long-term benefits that seem counter-intuitive, including making life easier, less complicated, more fulfilling, and ultimately more beautiful. You become less dependent on others and more dependent on yourself. You love yourself, warts and all.

Keeping Promises and Commitments

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

Robert Frost

Keeping promises and commitments, alongside honesty, are the most obvious and outward-facing elements of Integrity. A person of Integrity not only shows up but stays true to their word and keeps their obligations whenever possible.

When you make a promise, you are taking responsibility for your part in fulfilling that promise. This can be a personal promise to yourself (lifestyle, goals) or to others in your social circle. Or it can be professional. It can encompass deadlines, contracts, and responsibilities. It demonstrates you are a reliable, serious person. Taking your word seriously is important because it includes accepting that what you do directly and indirectly affects others.

High Integrity People Hold Up Their End

By keeping commitments and fulfilling obligations, you demonstrate your reliability and trustworthiness. Building and keeping trust is important in all areas of life but perhaps nowhere more so than work. If you’re a member of a team or organization, others count on you to follow through with your commitments. If you fail to keep your commitments, there will be negative consequences not only for you but for others associated with you.

Others’ Feelings of Certainty About You Provide a Positive Experience

People like certainty – even though generally there is none in reality. If you can provide it, represent it, and communicate it, you will be more successful. When it comes to representing certainty, it’s more about subjective experience than facts; what people want is certainty about their experience with you – that it will be positive and rewarding. Keeping promises and commitments is a vital link in your intention to provide a positive experience with the people in both your professional and personal life. Other benefits include improved relationships and increased opportunities.

Strong relationships, whether personal or professional, are built on trust and respect. Additionally, quality people prefer to associate with other quality people. People are more likely to want to be around you, either in a personal or professional capacity, if you have a reputation for keeping your commitments – and this leads to increased opportunities.

Also, keeping your promises, both to yourself and others, is its own reward. It provides a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction and is esteem-building.

“The man who promises everything is sure to fulfill nothing, and everyone who promises too much is in danger of using evil means in order to carry out his promises, and is already on the road to perdition.”

Carl Jung

Avoid Overcommitting

Because a person of integrity places a high value on keeping commitments, it is important to avoid putting yourself in a position where you have no choice but to break promises. You must give commitments and obligations careful consideration and not take them lightly. It is important to consider your schedule, prior commitments, capabilities, resources, and limitations before making any promises. By being realistic and thoughtful about what you can commit to, you can avoid overextending yourself to minimize the risk of breaking commitments. Say ‘no’ to something if you are unsure if you can follow through.

High-integrity people have no problem saying ‘no.’ Often people will say ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ when they really mean ‘no’. Young people will often say ‘yes’ when they really mean ‘yes – if nothing better comes up.’ All of these are immature and low character.

Maintaining Integrity Sometimes Calls For Sacrifices

Occasionally, a commitment will require sacrifices. When a situation changes, it may no longer be in our self-interest to keep our commitment or promise. These situations test our integrity because the temptation to eject from a commitment that no longer serves us is intense. In most situations, integrity is more important than an inconvenience or a minor setback. Keep in mind that situations are generally temporary but integrity and reputation take consistent effort to build effectively.

However, serious situations can be very complex in the real world. In the housing crisis of 2008, many homeowners went underwater on their mortgages. People lost their jobs. In normal times, a financial debt is a commitment – people with integrity pay their debts. However, many experts made convincing arguments that the banks brought the crisis not only on themselves but on innocents with their reckless and greedy behavior. As adults, we also have an implicit commitment to our spouses and children – to provide and care for them. Many walked away from their mortgages and other debt – but many did not. It’s up to each individual to decide where priorities lie regarding integrity in a complex world.

Unforeseen circumstances and obstacles can make it challenging or impossible to fulfill obligations. In such cases, communication is critical. It’s important to notify the affected parties as soon as possible to discuss the situation, make adjustments, and seek alternative solutions. If the situation calls for it, seek help from others.


“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are”

Carl Jung

Authenticity is a personal characteristic of someone who continually seeks to discover their true self and align themselves with this evolving ideal in both thought and action. There is debate over whether people actually possess an innate self that needs to be uncovered or whether the true self is malleable and changes due to choices, life experience, and the aging process. The answer is almost certainly both.

What is clear is that authenticity is a key component of Integrity and is a journey, not a destination – which is to say the target is not static but dynamic, and seeking authenticity is a lifelong process. According to psychologists Michael Kernis and Brian Goldman1 2 authenticity is comprised of four components:

  • Self awareness – Knowledge of and trust in one’s own motives, emotions, preferences, and abilities
  • Observing ego (AKA conscious observer or unbiased processing) – Ability to objectively examine one’s emotions, behavior, strengths, and weaknesses without denial or blame.
  • Behavior – Aligning one’s behavior with values and needs despite the risk of criticism or rejection.
  • Relational Orientation – Interdependence, attachment style, commitment level, and communications style.

Authenticity brings with it a multitude of benefits including coping with difficulties (without using drugs or alcohol), enjoying satisfying relationships, higher confidence and self-esteem, and the ability to set and pursue goals. People low in authenticity are likely to be defensive, suspicious, confused, and easily overwhelmed.

Authenticity Gives Push-Back To Narcissistic Tendencies

Authenticity is intimately linked with the bane of many an alcoholic/addict, narcissism. These topics are important (and misunderstood) minefields to navigate in the social-media era. Both are complicated topics and deserve separate posts in and of themselves (coming soon). But I’ll leave you this teaser: Especially in today’s image and appearance-focused world, authenticity, in the words of George W. Bush, is grossly misunderestimated. Some of the worst, and most commonly given, advice is to “just be yourself.” Try this instead: “Just be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday.” Stay tuned.

Personality Masks

“We wear masks not to be something different, but to deny the ‘something different’ that we are without the mask.”

Craig D. Lounsbrough

Linked to the concept of authenticity, masking refers to hiding your authentic self to gain greater social acceptance. It is behaving differently with different people in different circumstances. While wearing masks can serve as a protective shield, it can also lead to stress, loneliness, anxiety, exhaustion, and depression. Being fake is a lot of work and emotionally draining.

In many cases, masking is a behavior learned at a young age in response to rejection or bullying. We modify our behavior, often for an extended period of time, potentially for the rest of our lives. This change manifests in communication patterns, body language, tonality, and facial expressions around certain groups of people or in certain situations. Masking behavior obscures the natural personality – for example, pretending to like things you do not to fit in.

If life gives you lemons, drink the juice. Lance Armstrong

Masking Causes

People wear masks for different reasons. People feel the need to conform to social pressures especially when their jobs (and salary) depend on it. In relationships, people may pretend to be something they are not to keep the other person happy. Some people unhappy with their lives or accomplishments wear the mask of a more successful person. No matter what the situation, a desire for acceptance lies at the root of most types of masking. Human beings want to feel accepted and like they belong and many are willing to become someone else to do it.

“Stripped of all their masquerades, the fears of men are quite identical: the fear of loneliness, rejection, inferiority, unmanageable anger, illness and death.”

Joshua L. Liebman

Pathological personality masking may occur as a response to bullying, abuse, and fear. In unhealthy relationships involving verbal, emotional, or physical abuse wearing a mask can be a survival mechanism. Masking protects the true self from further emotional harm and even lower self-esteem. After all, people can’t reject you for who you truly are if they never knew you in the first place.

Masking Symptoms

While you may think that you know who you are, it’s quite possible that you’re so familiar with your mask that you’re hiding from even yourself. Symptoms such as restlessness, a feeling of insincerity, job dissatisfaction, or emotional and physical exhaustion can point to a personality mask. Low self-esteem, self-doubt and not liking who you see in the mirror usually signal a mask. One of the strongest indicators of a personality mask is a sense of inner conflict, trying to go in two directions at once.

Mexican devil mask
Look familiar?

Develop Awareness of Masking Behaviors

The first step in dropping masks is determining why you wear a mask around others. Start developing an awareness of what your masks do for you and how they hold you back. What are the situations that make you feel the need to mask?

One way to become aware of your own masking behavior is to take advantage of the following observation: People generally treat children and servants as ‘non-peers’, and therefore do not feel the need to wear masks when dealing with them.

This attitude is also related to class consciousness. One class of society will not wear a mask before a class lower than itself. People of a given status will not mask before those of a lower status. The boss may not feel the need to masking in the presence of his employee; the lady of the house will be her natural self with her maid. Parents will be themselves before children. By becoming aware of how you respond to different classes of people, you can become aware of what your masks look like, what you are like when no mask is present, and what triggers you to wear a mask.

“We put on masks we believe will be more acceptable to the world than the truth of who we are. In doing so, we sacrifice the gift of self-acceptance.” 

Jane Monica-Jones

Live In the Moment

Once you know your situational triggers and your automatic go-to responses, you can start to develop awareness in the moment (journaling is helpful in developing awareness) and develop coping mechanisms for dealing with it. For example, if you have a habit of embellishing (or outright lying about) your professional achievements when at a mixer, you can be aware of this tendency, and when you start to notice the desire to exaggerate, excusing yourself for a moment, breathing and reminding yourself that it doesn’t matter if you impress a stranger, then re-engaging.


“I think I’ve done a pretty good job of not compartmentalizing my life. I take my core values and I live them out at home, like I would in my snowboarding, like I would at church with my friends.”

Kelly Clark, halfpipe gold medal winner – 2002 Winter Olympics (SLC, USA)

One definition of integrity is “the state of being whole and undivided”. In contrast to this definition, compartmentalization (AKA psychological or cognitive compartmentalization or compartmentalized thinking) is a mental process in which people mentally separate conflicting thoughts, emotions, beliefs, values, experiences, and actions into distinct mental compartments or categories. It is a strategy, or in some cases, a defense mechanism, to maintain psychological balance by avoiding the discomfort of contradiction and the experience of cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a state of confusion and discomfort that occurs when a person holds two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. This discomfort drives people to attempt to eliminate or reduce the dissonance by changing one of the conflicting conditions. The person may or may not be consciously aware of the conflict and their subsequent decisions and actions. The strategy a person uses to reduce dissonance can be either constructive or destructive. Cognitive dissonance can have negative consequences such as stress, difficulty sleeping, depression, and is associated with addiction.

Causes of Cognitive Dissonance
  • New information. If a person learns new information that contradicts their existing beliefs, they may experience cognitive dissonance.
  • Changes in behavior. If behavior changes, but values do not, one may experience cognitive dissonance.
  • External pressure. If a person is pressured to change their beliefs or attitudes, they may experience cognitive dissonance. For example, if a person who values confidentiality with their friends is pressured by their spouse to reveal details of discussions held in confidence, they may experience cognitive dissonance.
Coping With Cognitive Dissonance
  • Changing one’s values or attitudes. This is the most common way to reduce cognitive dissonance. A person may decide their values are inappropriate to the situation or are too restrictive or old-fashioned – or they may decide the opposite, to hold themselves to a higher standard in the future.
  • Changing one’s behavior. If the dissonance was created by behavior, the person might resolve the conflict by retaining existing values and making amends and/or vowing not to repeat the behavior in the future.
  • Justifying one’s behavior. People can also reduce cognitive dissonance by justifying their behavior. This is often done by finding reasons why their behavior is not as bad as they thought or by finding ways to benefit from their behavior.
  • Denial. People can ignore cognitive dissonance by denying that there is a conflict between their beliefs and their behavior. This is a consequence of ignoring the conflicting information or convincing themselves that the conflict does not exist.
  • Compartmentalization.

When engaging in compartmentalization, we create mental boundaries or compartments to separate different facets of our lives that conflict or are inconsistent. This is not inherently negative; a common compartmentalization is separating professional and personal lives in an attempt to not allow one to significantly affect the other. Another common example is suppressing and separating powerful emotions to deal with exceptionally challenging situations.

Maladaptive Compartmentalization

Compartmentalization can be an effective coping mechanism but it also has a dark side depending on the context of the situation and the extent it is utilized. In everyday life, we don’t always deal with certain experiences immediately because doing so would get in the way of functioning. We set aside an argument with the spouse to get through a day at the office; we temporarily ignore a health concern because there is nothing we can do about it until we consult a doctor.

However, not all compartmentalization is benign. Excessive compartmentalization and balking at integrating conflicting experiences into a coherent personality have heavy costs both to yourself and others. At the very least, maladaptive compartmentalization will interfere with recognizing and addressing underlying issues and a possible disconnect between you and your authentic self. But there are often more serious consequences. When an activity destructively affects other areas of your life instead of providing a temporary break, it is time to take a hard look at what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Integrity of portable numbered lockers

The situation is similar to a ship. A submarine is divided into many separate compartments that can be individually sealed off in the case of the submarine taking on water. In this way, water can be contained so damage to one compartment does not cause the entire ship to sink. But human beings are not like submarines. People are more like the Titanic.

The Titanic had compartments, but the compartments were open at the top, resulting in the water filling one compartment and spilling to the next. And that is what tends to happen in our lives, our problems spill from one compartment to another.

Integrity in Breaking Bad barrels
Successful non-psychological compartmentalization in Breaking Bad

Compartmentalization In Modern Myth

One of the recurring themes in Self Design Recovery is responsibility, part of which is accepting that everything you do affects not only you but everyone around you, often in unanticipated ways. This is arguably the central theme of an extremely popular contemporary mythology – the television series Breaking Bad – demonstrating the utter failure of the central character, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), to effectively compartmentalize his illegal activities resulting in destruction to not only to himself but to those around him and the surrounding community.

Key Aspects of Compartmentalization

  • As a coping mechanism: Compartmentalization serves as a coping mechanism to deal with conflicting thoughts, emotions, or experiences.
  • Emotional compartmentalization: The separation of emotions – suppression and/or dissociation of certain emotions from others.
  • Response to cognitive dissonance: Managing the uneasiness caused by holding contradictory beliefs or values or behaving in ways contrary to those values. By compartmentalizing, one can maintain a comforting illusion of internal consistency.

“The ultimate competitive advantage is being cognitive.” –Ginni Rometti

  • Effect on relationship dynamics: Compartmentalization can impact interpersonal relationships. People may compartmentalize their emotions or experiences within a relationship, which can lead to a lack of emotional intimacy or an inability to address underlying issues.
  • Limitations and risks: While compartmentalization can provide temporary relief or stability, it can hinder personal growth, self-awareness, and emotional well-being. It may impede individuals from addressing and resolving internal conflicts or unresolved issues.

Those struggling with addiction often separate their substance use from the rest of their identity. For example, a man might identify as a partier and hit the Hollywood club circuit on the weekends and engage in behavior that is not congruent with his professional self-concept as an aspiring executive in the financial district. Another person might acknowledge themselves as an alcoholic and later argue that having a few drinks with friends isn’t that bad. However, compartmentalization can create a limited perspective. Confronting addiction does not mean that one is defined by it. There are many pieces to one’s identity, and accepting and integrating them is key to recovery.

A thorough discussion of maladaptive compartmentalization and steps you can take to integrate your experience is presented in a separate post.

Helping Others

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”

Napoleon Hill

When you help others, whether that be in your circle of influence or in the community at large, you are demonstrating that you value the well-being of others and are willing to take action to make a positive impact. Helping others is a way to demonstrate being ethical, honest, and consistent in your actions and builds trust and respect with those around you.

Helping others also provides a sense of fulfillment and purpose, which can contribute to self-esteem and overall well-being. When you help others, you are contributing not only to the greater good but to your own self-worth.

Integrity is very important in the workplace, and helping co-workers is a good way to put your values into action. When you assist others at work, you are showing that you care about their success and that you commit to doing the right thing even when it might not be directly beneficial to you. Offering to help when a co-worker is struggling demonstrates a willingness to put in extra effort to ensure the success of the company.

Sometimes a task’s responsibilities have not been adequately articulated and it’s an opportunity to recognize that a person needs help, particularly if you have a good idea of what needs to be done to remedy the problem.

Leadership is Helping Others Succeed

In a leadership position, when a team member complains, often the best way to help is to listen properly instead of giving in to the urge to act defensively. This imparts that not only do you hear them, but their concerns are worthy of your time and consideration. Allowing someone to be heard is important, even if you can’t solve the issue immediately. The caliber of helpfulness boils down to two elements: Responding promptly to requests (or locating the person who can really be of assistance) and a willingness to shift one’s own priorities to accommodate others.

“Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.”

Swami Vivekananda

Helping doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture. Often less is more and the goal is to get the person moving in the right direction under their own power.

Volunteer work is a great place to find people who have integrity. This is because people with true integrity have no qualms about offering their time to help people in need. They want to help those who are less fortunate than themselves and they do so happily. Whether it’s building a house in a developing country or helping out at the local food bank, someone with true integrity helps out.

Rick Warren Puts the Pieces Together

Pastor Rick Warren sums it up nicely:

“In a world that is so focused on individualism, it can be rare to find someone who focuses on what’s good for the collective community. People who put the needs of others above their own needs or desires show true integrity. Of course, they don’t do this simply to get praise and recognition. Someone with true integrity is only interested in doing the right thing.

It means you do the right thing, and you do it for the right reason. You have unmixed motivation and pure motives. You’re sincere and straightforward in every area of your life and with all people. You pray to talk to God and not to impress other people.

We’re interested in image, but God is interested in integrity. We’re interested in reputation, but God is interested in character. Reputation is what everybody thinks you are. Integrity is what you really are. Reputation is what you are in public. Integrity is what you are when you’re all alone with God.”


“To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.”


Respect is showing regard for the wishes, feelings, rights, and dignity of everyone (including yourself). Respect shows that we value others and their contributions. It is listening with an open mind and treating people with dignity even if we disagree with them. Respect fosters a positive social environment and plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy relationships. Respect includes the following concepts:

  • Fairness – Recognizing the inherent worth of every individual regardless of their culture, background or opinions. Impartially; avoiding biases and avoiding making decisions based on personal preferences.
  • Open-Mindedness – Being willing to consider different viewpoints and opinions. Listening carefully and engaging in constructive dialogue without resorting to insults, sarcasm, or discrimination.
  • Boundaries – Honoring other people’s space, privacy, and limits. Avoiding intrusive behavior and seeking consent before taking actions that impact others.
  • Professionalism – Creating and maintaining positive and cooperative relationships with colleagues, communicating effectively, and appreciating others’ contributions.
  • Constructive Criticism – Providing feedback in a kind and positive manner. Focusing on improving ideas and actions rather than criticizing individuals.

Kindness, Patience, and Gossip

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.”

–Khalil Gibran


Kindness demonstrates more than integrity; it is a reflection of a person’s broader character. Kind people show empathy, compassion, and respect toward others. It demonstrates moral responsibility and ethical conduct. Treating others with kindness shows others you value their worth and dignity. When you show kindness, people are more likely to trust you which leads to stronger and more meaningful relationships.


Patience is important to consistently behaving kindly and reflects the ability to remain committed to values when faced with difficulty. Patient people demonstrate self-control and discipline that enables them to remain kind and uphold their Integrity. When someone has patience, they are more likely to wait for the right opportunity to act rather than compromise their values.

Gossip Is Neither Patient nor Kind

People with Integrity are both patient and kind. They give second chances. They’re not the type of person who says something they don’t mean. They won’t say something nice to your face and something cruel behind your back. A person with true Integrity knows that there is strength in being consistently kind.

Your relationships are one of the primary ways you demonstrate Integrity. Part of relational Integrity means you don’t talk one way about people in front of them and gossip behind their backs.

“The only gossip I’m interested in is things from the Weekly World News – ‘Woman’s bra bursts, 11 injured’. That kind of thing.”

Johnny Depp

This includes talking about a situation with someone who is neither the problem nor has a part in the solution. Often people gossip because it makes us feel superior at someone else’s expense. We sit in judgment over other’s problems and pain to make ourselves feel important and morally superior.

Meaningful relationships are built on trust and gossips can’t be trusted. Today, we see gossip run rampant in tabloids and on social media. Gossip is destructive and low character – and it doesn’t just hurt the subjects of the gossip, it also hurts you, by weakening and destroying your relationships. Everyone needs friends they can be real with and not have to worry that what they say will go public. You demonstrate integrity when you can be consistently trusted to keep confidences.


“The first test of a truly great man is his humility. By humility I don’t mean doubt of his powers or hesitation in speaking his opinion, but merely an understanding of the relationship of what he can say and what he can do.”

John Ruskin

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

Rick Warren

“It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.”

Yogi Berra

A partial list of characteristics of the humble: An awareness of one’s limitations, a willingness to admit and learn from mistakes, listening to others, openness to feedback and criticism, and giving credit where credit is due.

  • Self-Awareness – Knowledge and recognition of your strengths and weaknesses. Awareness of the impact of your actions on others.
  • Accepting Criticism – Humble people are receptive to feedback and have a willingness to acknowledge, own up to, and correct mistakes. They recognize that the perspectives and insights of others are an opportunity for growth and learning.
  • Non-self-centeredness – Not overly focused on their own interests and agenda at the expense of the needs and wishes of others. Not arrogant or condescending; humble people promote fairness and equality in their relationships.

“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.” Thomas Merton

  • Team-oriented – Humble individuals are more likely to collaborate and seek input from others when making decisions. They surround themselves with competent people and make use of their experience and wisdom. They understand that tapping into diverse perspectives and expertise produces better results.
  • Acknowledging Limitations – “A man’s got to know his limitations” -Dirty Harry – Humility helps avoid overcommitment or making false claims by being honest about what you can and cannot do. Humility helps in not overstepping others’ boundaries and in supporting transparent communication.

“Humility is attentive patience.” –Simone Weil

  • Sharing Credit – Give credit where credit is due. Humility encourages the recognition and accomplishments of peers and subordinates, fostering unity and a collaborative spirit.
  • Leadership – Humility emphasizes the leader’s responsibility to prioritize the needs of team members and work to support their growth, development, and success. Humble leaders lead by example and fulfill their role utilizing persuasion and influence instead of an authoritative station.

A discussion of the holistic viewpoint of Eastern philosophies will be presented in separate posts

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