Last time, I talked about my theme for 2020. That thing I was going to weave into everything I do for the year, and without which I would not carry myself.
That thing? Integrity.
Google defines integrity several ways.
- 1.the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”he is known to be a man of integrity”
- 2.the state of being whole and undivided.”upholding territorial integrity and national sovereignty”
- the condition of being unified, unimpaired, or sound in construction. “the structural integrity of the novel”
- internal consistency or lack of corruption in electronic data.”integrity checking”
I define it much more simply. Integrity means living in congruence with good, moral honesty among the thoughts, habits, beliefs, and actions that drive me every day.
But why is integrity so important? Why am I putting integrity at the foundation of my new identity?
Several reasons. One, as I looked back at the reality of the last few years for me, I noticed a theme. I made choices that ran contrary to my personal values and the identity I chose for myself. Lacking integrity was a common theme in most of my negative interactions and struggles.
So as I assessed my own life, I made a choice based on both a glaringly-obvious theme. I also chose integrity based on the hypothesis that adding integrity into a lot of past situations would have given me a far more positive outcome.
Reason number two is simple. Humans desire fulfillment.
Living with integrity—that is, keeping alignment among your beliefs and your actions—is the fastest path to fulfillment that I’ve found.
Real Shit: Episode 1
This is the part where you get to see behind the curtain. Where you get to see just how hard this stuff is to put into practice.
Where you get to see how full of shit I might be. What do you think? Let’s find out, shall we? Let’s talk to that negative voice in my head for a few minutes.
Cue negative voice:
This integrity shit is hard! Come on, no one’s looking. Sure, times might be tough and money might be tight, but no one is holding a gun to your head. So you’ve got time to slack off. Why not just wimp out one more time?
It’s what everyone is expecting anyway, because it’s what you’ve always done.
“Be quiet, negative voice,” I say. “You don’t know me anymore.”
And now I’m back to normal. Just that simple shift in perspective is sometimes all it takes to break the negativity and stop the madness.
To my negative voice, I say:
“You know why integrity is so important? Because once you’re labeled as ‘lacking integrity,’ no one cares what you have to say. They don’t even waste their time listening because they won’t believe a word that comes out of your mouth anyway.
“Without integrity, your word means nothing. When you say you’re going to do something, most people quietly assume that you’re lying or that you have the best of intentions but you won’t follow through.
Why? Because based on your past behavior, odds are you’re not going to follow through.
Intentions don’t matter if actions don’t match. And if you don’t have personal integrity driving you to hold yourself to a standard, your actions likely won’t match because the minute things get hard or there’s a minor setback, you’ll quit.
Again, it’s what everyone expects you to do anyway because that’s the pattern of your behavior. They’re not mis-labeling you; you’re just defensive because they’re right and you’re still in denial.
So… Now What?
Now it’s time to change their minds. It’s time to show the world and, most notably, yourself that you’re not that person anymore. You’re changing your identity and your core beliefs. And you’re starting with the belief that personal integrity is at the foundation of a good life.
Simply put, it’s time to say what I mean and mean what I say. If I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. And if I can’t do it, there had better be a damn good reason.
If I were to get a tattoo right now, tonight, it would say two things: “Have Integrity” and “Don’t Be F*cking Weak.”
I’m attempting to burn these two phrases into my soul. For some people, these things might come easy. Hell, I’m sure there’s a previous version of me that finds strength and integrity easy to come by. But I can’t see that man when I look in the mirror, so it’s hard to know if he was ever there at all.
But that doesn’t matter. Everything before now is in the past. I can choose a new identity and match my behavior, habits, and actions to that new identity.
Let’s see what happens when I do that.
Join me, won’t you?