Living with Integrity

Integrity and Prosperity
by: Daniel Sitter

The word “integrity” is passed around a lot. Many people use it without proper reflection upon what it encompasses. It is bantered about as a much more casual word might be. Why is that? Could it be that it’s far easier to use the word that it is to live by it? A life guided by integrity is certainly not a rare occurrence, but one that when observed, yields a sense of completeness, harmony and prosperity that transcends more than just the monetary.

Webster’s dictionary defines integrity as “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values” and describes a person of integrity as incorruptible. I prefer a much more simplified and applicable definition that can touch each of us wherever we are: Integrity is what you do and how you behave when there is no one watching. Of course, I believe that there is always a righteous God watching. However, there are certainly those persons that are not as concerned about that fact as they might well be, but that is a topic for another day.

How does integrity relate to prosperity? After all, they are not mutually exclusive. It’s really quite simple… we reap what we sow. Man was given a conscience to act as a moral compass, a barometer, constantly receiving feedback from our thoughts and actions and then responding back to us with guidance. If we sow with integrity, we will also reap in abundance. Our reputation will grow and we will discover that we are the type of person that others will seek out to have business transactions with. This will grow exponentially and our prosperity is assured. The prosperity I speak of here is also one of peace, harmony, satisfaction, fulfillment as well as the monetary reward.

Some time ago, I came across a paper entitled “Ten Affirmations of Integrity” on which there was no mention of the author. These affirmations are simple, yet so very profound. Read them now and again each morning as you wake and again each evening as you prepare for sleep. Internalize them and you will certainly prosper.

1. When I make a promise, I will keep that promise.

How many times do people say something or make a promise that they have absolutely no intention of ever keeping? Do you ever catch yourself saying something to someone just to “shut them up,” simply telling them what they want to hear?

2. When I set a goal, I will work to achieve it.

Would you believe that most of us do not have any written goals? Most people have dreams or wants that they simply keep in their heads. These thought are fleeting and often tend to morph into new ideas or wants on a frequent basis like the winds. Learn to write down your goals and identify the steps necessary to achieve them. Review them daily and track your progress. It only takes a few minutes to do, but most of us will not bother.

3. I will treat others as I would treat myself.

The golden rule…where have we heard that before! This one is a gold mine ready to be enjoyed. Simply treat others with dignity and respect. You will certainly stand out in the crowd.

4. I will conduct my life with excellence.

Commit to living your life as if you were always being scrutinized. The word “shortcut” is not even in your vocabulary. See things completely through by creating mental pictures of your goal. Do your very best always. Finish what you start. Never quit and never give up. Always look to uplift others with a kind word or action.

5. I will be personally accountable.

Realize that you are responsible for you. There is no blame or credit to be blanketed on others. Stand on your personal word. Mean what you say and do what you mean to. Take pride in doing the small things that make a big difference. Don’t ever be afraid to admit you might be wrong. When wrong, make it right. Take a stand.

6. I will face my mistakes and grow from them.

Everyone makes mistakes. The key point is that we should always strive to eliminate the possibility of making the same mistake twice. We do that by examining our mistake, determining the reason for it and where we went off course. Gather as much insight as possible from the situation and make note of what you would do differently when the same opportunity comes your way again. Admit your mistakes. Learn from them.

7. I will relate to others with honesty.

Be honest with yourself and your dealings with others. Don’t ever justify a lie by calling it a “stretch of the truth” or a “white lie” that won’t hurt anyone. You will soon find yourself telling another lie to conceal the first one and so on. It is always best to tell the truth. Most people will respect you for it, even if you were wrong. Strength of character is forged from honesty and respect.

8. I will show respect for authority.

Everyone is subject to someone or something. We teach our children to respect their parents, grandparents, teachers, leaders, crossing guard and other adults in their lives. In the same way, we as adults need to respect the authority of others, especially while on their turf. Remember that the next time you are in the library or the movie theater when someone far younger than you asks you to please be quiet or turn off your cell phone.

9. I will honor my debts.

We live in a disposable culture. This has stretched well beyond mere “things” to include institutions such as marriage and family. How many commercials currently parade across our televisions promising debt relief or financial freedom? Shakespeare said “neither a borrower nor a lender be” and he was right. There is no running out on accumulated debt while maintaining honor. If necessary, sit down with a financial expert and design a plan to gradually work your way out of debt. A winner will always honor his debts, sleeping peacefully in the process.

10. I will love people and use things.

People are not pawns to be manipulated for personal gain, but that is exactly how some of us treat others if it will benefit us in some way. People of integrity will always seek to build up others, edifying them and encouraging them to victory. People lacking integrity selfishly seek their own agenda without concern for anyone else. This is not how we were designed by our Creator to interact with each other. We are interdependent beings, not isolated islands.

Integrity is a trait most admired by winners. It is such a quality in man that it is eagerly sought out by employers, diplomats, teachers, negotiators, pastors and many others. Given a choice of several similarly talented individuals from which there will be a single job awarded, the person of integrity will most likely stand out and be awarded that employment. In a leadership arena, such as an emergency situation, where someone must surely take charge, the person of integrity will rise to the occasion and will quickly garner the respect of those around her, allowing for her leadership to take over. Her integrity will ensure her leadership because those around her will sense her discerning abilities.

Integrity, of course, will not absolutely guarantee prosperity, but I submit that people of integrity sleep better, work more efficiently and attract a more qualified and capable “inner circle” of friends and associates from whom they gather advice, recommendations and counsel. This “cabinet” of leaders and qualified experts will almost always ensure their success at most any endeavor they undertake. Integrity is a critical yardstick by which we will be judged by our peers, our critics and our God. It is an ideal where we cannot afford to fall short.

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