Integrity is in rare supply these days, but it does still exist.
It also has rules for life, rules that will guide you well if you choose to abide by them.
Being a man or woman of integrity isn’t as dramatic as it might sound. It’s just a matter of sticking to these time-tested rules for how to live your life, do business and love.
Let’s dive in:
1) Be consistent
Those who are consistent gain the true admiration of friends, strangers and loved ones.
Let’s be clear here:
Consistency does not mean that you’re boring or robotic. It doesn’t mean you never change or have sudden shifts and transformations.
It simply means that you are a person who fundamentally sticks to a code of conduct and hews to his or her word.
You can be depended on and relied on in every way, and everyone knows it.
A close cousin of consistency is follow-through.
This means that you never leave a project half-done, you don’t ghost and you do your best in life.
If these sound like common sense things to you, it’s likely because you’re already a person of considerable integrity.
Believe me that they are not the norm for everybody.
In fact, many folks are stuck in a far earlier stage of personal development whereby there is always an excuse for what they do and they aren’t responsible.
Don’t engage in that or dodge your actions. You’re a person of integrity, and you act accordingly.
3) Say what you mean
The words that come out of your mouth have great power and meaning.
Speaking off the cuff or disguising what you really feel and think can end up backfiring in a myriad of ways.
“When there is no truth, there is no kindness.”
This is exactly correct. If you want to be a good person, a useful person, a person of integrity you tell the truth even when it doesn’t benefit you.
You say what you mean even when it’s easier not to.
4) Date with honesty
If you want to be a person of integrity, be honest in dating, sex and relationships.
Many of us have been badly hurt in ways that scarred us deeply. I certainly have.
But you show to yourself and the whole world that you are a person of courage and integrity when you don’t hold the past against the future.
You have the right to be hurt, to be sad, to be scared.
But you owe it to yourself not to take it out on new people who enter your life, and not to discount the future and not to write off potential partners.
Keep your options open, you never know when somebody might come along who you hit it off with.
5) Be a loyal and true friend
Loyalty is a really underappreciated value these days, but it should never be written off.
That’s because, quite frankly, the world is full of people who are not loyal and true friends.
When you are, that sets you apart and that makes you special and higher value.
It’s a wonderful thing, and all it requires is that you value and treasure your friends.
On a related note…
6) Have empathy for others
This is one of the hardest things I’ve struggled with in life, and I know many others who do, too.
When we’re focused on what we are going through in life it’s easy to lose sight of what others are going through.
And trust me: they’re going through a lot. Much more than you might realise.
I guarantee you that if you’re feeling down, angry and confused right now, there are people screaming as loud as they humanly can into a pillow right now.
Is their life “worse” than yours?
I’m not saying that. But I absolutely guarantee you that suffering is not unique to you and that keeping this in mind will help you build considerably more empathy for everyone you know (and strangers).
7) Keep clear boundaries
Those who keep clear boundaries end up getting the respect of everyone.
This means you have standards for yourself and others that aren’t negotiable.
Honesty, loyalty, commitment:
These are all examples of traits that you have firm standards on.
If you let them down you fess up to it and try to make up for it. If others break your boundaries you communicate directly or part ways if they won’t admit what they did.
8) Mean it when you say no
If you have boundaries, they only mean something when enforced.
That’s why a key component of integrity is being able and willing to say no.
You say no when you don’t want to do something or when somebody is asking too much of you.
You’re willing to be disliked and able to withstand pressure. You don’t just fall for the latest fad, and when you decline something you mean it.
This is widely perceived as you being a person of integrity.
9) Steer clear of grifters
Those we spend a lot of time around end up defining a lot about who we become.
They also color the perceptions of others a great deal.
That’s why being a person of rock-solid integrity also requires steering clear of grifters and low characters. This doesn’t mean you need a checklist to be friends with someone:
But it does mean that, in general, you spend time around people who reflect the kinds of goals, attitudes and norms that you want in life.
It may not always be fair, but most people absolutely do judge us and form impressions of us based on who we hang around with and associate with.
You spend time with people of integrity, because you’re the same.
10) Have humility and self-awareness
When you’re a person of integrity, you know your value but you never let your ego get ahead of you.
You practice humility and continue to grow in self-awareness.
This means you’re aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. It means you have empathy for others who are going through a hard time. It means you avoid judging too quickly.
This humility allows other people to feel more comfortable around you and trust you more, since they you’re a person who’s patient and self-aware enough to see someone for who they really are.