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A personal growth essential: Acting with integrity April 19, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal development, Concept of personal growth.
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As we develop our program of personal growth and development, the concept of integrity must be one of the key building blocks in its foundation.

In terms of the self-improvement paradigm, integrity can be defined succinctly as “…a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.” (1)

Or more extensively, “In discussions on behavior and morality, an individual is said to possess the virtue of integrity if the individual’s actions are based upon an internally consistent framework of principles. These principles should uniformly adhere to sound logical axioms or postulates. One can describe a person as having ethical integrity to the extent that the individual’s actions, beliefs, methods, measures and principles all derive from a single core group of values.” (1)

Integrity also has the underlying broad meaning of solidity and structural cohesiveness acting as a concrete or abstract component of strength holding something together. For example, we may say that a building has structural integrity.

Another implied meaning is that of high moral values and principles. We may describe a woman or a man, or a company, for that matter ,as “having integrity.” The implication is they are “good” people, and consistently operate from principle.

However, it is worth remembering that the principles-framework that someone operates within might not necessarily be “good” in relative terms to the well-being of others affected by those principles.

A person or a company can be acting within its principles, and therefore have “integrity” but could also be paying its workers low wages – but, they are being consistent and operating by principles (cost-cutting and shareholder value), and therefore technically have integrity.

However, for our purposes, let’s assume:

(1) That all of us working on making ourselves better persons through the concept of integrity are doing so with high moral purpose, and;
(2) That we greatly value the concept of consistency in our thoughts and actions

And overall, we realize that unless integrity is the foundation of our self-improvement program it will, in time, be weakened through its inconsistencies.

That being the case, our efforts to acquire the personal attribute of integrity would include the following, to name just a few:

* We don’t say one thing and do another; we are not hypocrites
* We keep our word; we deliver on our promises
* We treat everyone equally; the store manager and the sales clerk alike
* We try to react to our good times and our bad times with emotional balance
* We act in a way in which people believe they can “count” on us
* Our private actions are consistent with the image we project in public

In all of this, however, it’s important for us to realize that integrity or consistency should not mean total inflexibility. We should be willing to adapt our principles in specific circumstances where common sense and morality tells us that it’s the correct and proper thing to do.

As Winston Churchill said, “…never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

(1) These quotations about integrity are from a Wikipedia article on integrity which can be found at the following URL:




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