The most important personal quality - Integrity
A taxi driver went out of his car, stood near the door, opened his pants zipper and started to pee. A municipality worker that happened to be there at the same time, noticed the situation and issued a fine for the taxi driver. As soon as the driver noticed the municipality worker, he took a bottle that was near by and started to pour water from it over his hands. The taxi driver refused to pay and went to trial. In front of the judge, he told the following story: The wheel by the drivers’ door broke, so he stopped to replace it and took instruments from the trunk. Before leaving the place, he took a bottle of water from the trunk to wash his hands. The judge did not believe him. He said, “if you wanted to wash your hands, why would you take the bottle out of the trunk, move to the drivers’ door and wash it there and not by the trunk?” The driver paid the fine. - Local news paper
This is a real story from one of the local city newspaper I’ve read some time ago. And I ask my self. The guy is an adult. I guess somewhere around 30-60 years old. He couldn’t hold his pee. So he peed on the street, which is punished by a fine. What would make him lie like a 3-year-old?
Well, I know what. He wanted to pee. There was no toilet nearby, so he peed on the street. This is punishable by a fine. But who wants to pay a fine? So he lied, with a hope to get by and not pay the fine.
The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. - Definition of integrity (noun)
Integrity equals responsibility.
Doing something illegal and then lying with a hope to get by with it is called immature. Immature people can not take responsibility. And failing to take responsibility means you are unable to succeed in life because failure to take responsibility – means everything is someone else’s problem. And when everything is someone else’s problem you have no control over the life you are living.
Children until a certain age are immature. That’s the reason they lie. “But mommy, I didn’t touch it, it fell by itself!“. Yes, you did. And you are responsible for breaking it. But children don’t get it. They are not evolved enough, yet. They are afraid of telling the truth because they know that they did something wrong and they might be punished. Nobody want’s to be punished. But parents are not stupid, they know the real story. Vases don’t fall by themselves.
Having responsibility for your life makes it easier.
Integrity equals peace of mind.
The easiest story to tell – is the truth. When you lie, you get caught up in small details that will eventually render your lie to be logically flawed. The taxi driver got caught up because his words made no sense.
Imagine a life in which you need to remember every small part you’ve ever said and you also need to think about what you are going to say next so that it will be logical and wouldn’t sound like a lie. And we are speaking about a generation that relies on to-do lists, reminders, and secretaries to remember trivial things like “buy bread on the way home“.
Lying is exhausting. And the more people know or involved in your lies, the more exhausting it is. You suddenly can’t be your self. You can’t share something that happened to you, without thinking about consequences. “Dude, I’ve met yesterday the most amazing girl ever!“. “Yesterday? But yesterday we played poker and you said you won’t come because you are sick!“. “Um… Ah.. mmm..“. Don’t be that guy. Have integrity.
Integrity guides you towards what is right for you.
When you don’t have integrity, you don’t have any moral principles. Going to hookers? Sure. Stealing candy? Why the hell not!
Have you ever been presented with two appealing choices and didn’t know what to choose? Well if you have integrity, you’d know what’s important for you. If one of your principles in life is to not drink, then Friday evening in a bar with friends would not be an option for you.
An abundance of choice is bad. Read The Paradox of Choice – Barry Schwartz to understand why. Minimizing the number of choices we make in life – makes life easier. And if you don’t have moral principles or integrity, you’d have to make a lot of choices daily because you don’t really have an opinion or preference.
And no, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes you are presented with two really appealing choices and they have nothing to do with your integrity or moral principles. Life’s hard after all, there is no magic potion titled “Integrity” that will remove all obstacles. But it will make your life easier.
Evolution gave us conscious and subconscious. And the later gives us the ability to not make the same choice over and over again because making a choice is exhausting. Imagine your life when every morning you need to decide if you are gonna brush your teeth today or no.
Integrity is trust.
When you promise to do something and you fail, you lose a little bit of integrity. When this happens another time, you lose a bit more. You lose some more for the third time as well. But after that, you lose trust. You are no longer a person others can rely on or expect help from.
It’s a bad position to be in. Humans, as species, survived because we were able to group and divide tasks between group members. If you are invaluable to the group or the group can not trust you, why would they take you with them? And yes, you can ramble that you prefer to be friends with people who don’t need anything from you but think about this for a moment. Imagine your self in a situation when you are having a big argument with your family or your SO and desperately need a place to sleep in. Who would you go to? Now can you be that person for some of your friends?
And yes, you can have friends without doing or asking for favors. But you will never have a deep connection with people. Deep connection relies on giving and asking for help. And you can’t have a deep connection without having integrity, because trustworthy people have integrity.
Integrity is everything. All other qualities are based on integrity and that’s the reason integrity is the most important quality.