Home  >  Word of the Month  >  JULY 2014-Understanding integrity (Part I)
JULY 2014-Understanding integrity (Part I) PDF Print E-mail

By Rino Solberg

Integrity is not a skill, it is not an education or some knowledge you have. Integrity is not a physical attribute you are born with, it is not about being rich or poor or being young or old. Integrity is not about being black or white and is definitely not something you suddenly get. It is not just about being honest; just being you and hoping for the best. It is not being ‘super boy’ or ‘super girl’.

Integrity is your mental possession and has something to do with your ATTITUDE towards MORALS and ETHICAL PRINCIPLES. The word ‘integrity’ comes from the Latin word integer, which freely translated means ‘wholeness’ or a whole person. This means that a person with integrity is not a divided person but is more like a total and great person in every way.

You see, integrity is a way of thinking, a way of living and of being (whole). Integrity is hardest when it seems like you are the only one practising it. It means doing the right thing because you know it is right. Many people know they are doing wrong and still argue and try to justify with no intention of changing for the better. They simply do not understand the consequences of what they are doing or even that they have a choice. The good news is, everybody can change his or her attitude and start living by high morals and ethical principles if they want to. However, the best time is to learn this early in life, at home or at school.

Attitude and thought change

The first thing you have to do is to make a decision that you want to change your attitude. To live a life of integrity is better in so many ways. The way we humans use our thoughts can be likened to what a farmer does on his farm. If he plants tomatoes, tomatoes are what he will harvest. If he plants coffee, coffee is what he will harvest, and if he plants trees, trees will grow. We can plant our own thought-seeds, good or bad, or they can be planted by someone else-with or without our conscious knowledge. Unfortunately, this happens to too many people. If wrong thought-seeds grow, the people have to live with the consequences. The thoughts that you have built into your character will remain there until you change your character by changing your thoughts. Most people believe that they are a product of their environment and circumstances, which is very wrong. We MAKE our own environment and circumstances, when we understand that we can.

By changing your thoughts, you can change your destiny

I know that, for some, it takes time to change an attitude, because they simply do not know what it means or how to do it. Your attitude is however based on your total beliefs, which depend on what has been fed into your brain; through everything you have seen, heard, experienced or read throughout your life. It also depends on how much integrity your parents, guardians or teachers taught you as you grew up as well as what kind of friends and jobs you have had.                                                                                           .                       
Every living person has probably at least once in their life lied, cheated someone, stolen something or done something wrong. Depending on what happened, when they did it the first time, were they caught? Did they stop it or continue? If they were punished and an explanation for the punishment given, they might never have repeated it again. However, if nobody cared about it, or if they got encouraged instead, it is possible that they continued with these bad habits and developed an attitude of dishonesty and no integrity.