Integrity; the Highest measure of Personal Development.
In today’s piece, we explore the need for integrity in our lives. In last week’s article we explored why leadership is the first reason for our woes. But within the blog, integrity became largely pronounced as the missing ingredient in our leadership characters that brings about their corruption and gross misconducts. Integrity is such a huge aspect in personal development that even some people die without the term ever being used to describe them throughout their entire lives. So what is it?
The Cambridge dictionary defines integrity as, “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change.” It goes ahead to further define it as, “someone’s high artistic standard or standards of doing their job, and that person’s determination not to lower those standards.” We can note that the definitions talks of three key components; quality, moral and change.
In terms of quality, integrity becomes such a valuable character that everyone ought to strive to have it. Quality is a defining aspect, a determining factor as well as a measure against a set standard. In Kenya for instance, quality of products is measured against agreed standards usually regulated by a governing body. This could be Kebs or a body like KCAA. Hence when one sees a certified product with a Kebs logo, they will most certainly trust it because they know that it has passed prerequisite requirements as expected. Likewise, when “quality of being honest” is used to describe integrity, it means that the individual is straightforward, truthful and not prone to lying, cheating and exaggerating.
The aspect of moral in respect to integrity stands for a high principle for proper conduct. Somebody who is morally upright means that the person conducts themselves in accordance with expected manner of behavior. For instance, last week while I was watching the 9 p.m news in one of the days, there is the story of over 38 individuals nabbed in the KRA tax evasion probe. The accusations laid on them related to malpractice. In other words, the workers cheated and plagiarized the trust accorded to them.
Yet in another instance, a group of individuals had been caught in a house in one of the exclusive estates where they made fake gold for duping foreigners. These guys could sell investors sand, ballast and iron in the name of gold. Simply said, these guys were practically fractured in terms of mannerisms and code of ethics. The aspect of lying to others and conning them of their hard earned cash is one of the highest forms of character assassination people embark themselves in.
In relation to change, we can say that the statement about the only thing that does not change is change itself is a mythogenesis which will not apply here. In fact science states that matter is neither created nor destroyed, it only changes forms yet when we critically look at it we can say that matter in and of itself does not change in terms of creation and loss. God too doesn’t change. The totality of life that it always goes on has not changed to date neither as death. So it is possible for us not change our overall conduct in terms of character.
What am I building here? That people with integrity don’t alter their principles to fit situations. They are principled everywhere where they are. When in charge of little as well as plenty, when alone as well as when in public. So with integrity, the moral value and virtue doesn’t change. And this is where the greatest challenge lies. Holding the moral and virtuous guns constant in a rapidly changing world, in fact everything else is always changing, is a hard thing. But why should it be hard?
Let us first understand if integrity is an intrapersonal; taking place or existing or developed within self/ the mind, or developed in an extrapersonal sphere; developed outside of the person which means that integrity could be developed as a result of external factors.
Supposing integrity were extrapersonal, it means that it will keep changing as time goes by. So a person will have integrity if the environment around him or her dictates so. For example a person will be honest if the person around knows the truth about what the person wants to say. It thus leaves them with no option but to tell the truth. In the absence of such, the person can lie which means that ideally that is not real integrity.
But if integrity were intrapersonal, it then means that it stems from within and it is never a factor of environmental influence. Such an individual will carry themselves with such integrity as shall be required irrespective of the circumstances. And this is the type of integrity I am talking about.
Integrity means we are at peace with ourselves and content with what we have as we work faithfully to improve our situations. Corruption and theft even in situations we have room to commit them will not happen because we are faithful to ourselves. As a matter of fact, when we see individuals without integrity stealing and lying all around, it means fidelity to self; after all they are not faithful. We need to change their perspective on integrity first before we can try to change them.
These are people who are not even faithful to themselves. For people with integrity issues, the matter goes beyond the integrity matters, deeper to malfunctioned personal character and development problems. If we can sort integrity from self, we can succeed to see a better world around us.
I thus admonish ourselves to be people of integrity all the time, all day and all year round.
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