A personal quality that is vital to one’s overall success is integrity. It is a set of traits that will make a person trustworthy, highly regarded, and reliable, in any situation. Integrity is a broad concept that serves many purposes.
First of all, integrity is one’s own choice to commit to universal values and principles. This means that regardless of what the situation may be, no matter what others are doing, a person with integrity will stick to his commitments to do the right things in accordance to values and principles accepted by all to be good and appropriate. Second, integrity is also about doing something to right a wrong. People may be adherent to doing what the world generally perceives to be right and appropriate, and yet they do not give a care about what others are doing; they are tolerant. A person with integrity actively involves himself in activities that will enable him to uphold values and principles. Lastly, integrity is absolute and whole in a sense that it should not only manifest in thoughts and beliefs, but should also be evident in everything the person does. Essentially, a person with integrity does what he says he will do, all the time.
Four Integrity Traits
Integrity can be apparent because of the following traits that every person with integrity has:
1. Conscience – People with integrity are principled individuals; they work hard and can be depended upon for every responsibility that is given to them. They are concerned not only of themselves, but also of other people’s welfare.
2. Honesty – Honest people are always seeking the truth; it is a feature of one’s moral character wherein every decision, thought, and action is grounded on what is perceived to be good and true.
3. Compassion and Empathy – People who have integrity genuinely care for others, not as a means to impress but rather, because it is what their heart dictates. Empathy is having the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes, and a person with integrity is always someone who seeks to understand what others feel and think first before passing judgment or making choices.
4. Equality – These people are fair and just in their dealings. They give equal treatment and opportunities to everyone and do not make biased decisions.
Importance of Integrity
Students who have integrity do not cheat their way out of school. To get better grades, they study hard and work hard at honing their academic and social abilities. These kinds of young adults are looked up to as role models in their academic institutions because it is very easy to spot the traits manifested in a person who has this personal quality. People who are just starting out in their career start it right by applying the principles of integrity in their jobs. Being honest and working hard in the office even when no one is around will not fail to impress your boss; you may not realize it but the traits of integrity are very well noticeable by everyone around you. Conversely, a person without integrity can also be easily spotted, like a thief on a bright sunny day.
Although it is not the intent of people with integrity to boast of the wonderful qualities that they have, these cannot be overlooked because such people will always stand out, whether it is by choice or not. But on a general perspective, this particular quality is deemed important because without it, without people with integrity, the world we live in will become more tolerant to wrongdoings and evil acts. And what a chaotic world that would be.
How Do We Develop Integrity
Integrity should be taught, learned, and practiced at a very young age. The learning should begin even while we were still toddlers. People who have parents and family members who were honest, fair, and conscientious have higher chances of acquiring all the traits inherent of integrity as they grow older.
However, if by some unfortunate circumstances, you were not given the chance to live with people who have these traits, you can still do something to change yourself. First, it is important for you to be extra conscious of your thoughts, words, and actions. In everything you do, always ask yourself, “Are these thoughts, words, and actions in accordance to the universal principles and values?” If not, then you need to change it. The path to developing integrity is not easy and you can progress only by taking baby steps- one step at a time. What is important is your commitment to change; to become a better person than you are today.