I was just reviewing my post of how Software Integrity Matters, and it got me thinking. Integrity is very important in so many things we do. It's both hard, yet surprisingly easy in comparison. Complex yet simple. And most of all, it's something everyone can do.
Integrity is one of those things that is very difficult if we expect to only do it when we need to. Like exercise, or paying off a loan, or even dancing, if we constantly put it off, and only take care of it when we absolutely have to, it may be nearly impossible.
Instead, if we start now, it's surprisingly easy. Think about exercising or paying off a loan. You do a little here and a little there. All of them small. You work out for a few minutes a day. Or you pay your loan a little each month. And suddenly a very large problem becomes doable. Smaller. And eventually disappeared completely.<!--more-->
While doing that article on software integrity, I came across Matt Kruse's blog article about why he hadn't updated his SocialFixer in a while. Why? Lots of reasons, but the most important was Family.
I’ve always said that my family and kids are my #1 priority, and I often measure my commitment to that principle by the decisions I actually make...
I try to do the things that are best for my family first, and work on my personal projects in whatever time is left...
I wrote a bit ago about Never Giving in, Not Even Once. Judge Patrick Schiltz said how ethics and integrity are very similar. He made a strong arguments for treating one's family as most important. Work, hobbies, and other things come after family.
He even went so far as saying if you put work above family, you have no ethics. I would add you're probably also running away from something.
In the end, your family will be the thing you treasure most. And, if you don't value them now, the loss of time with them will be the thing you regret the most.
Just go to visit an old senior sometime. They'll tell you how it is.
Making the Most of Life
Life has so many options and so many things we can do. Why would we want to limit ourselves, or lock ourselves up in a cage?
That may sound odd, but that is exactly what is happening when we choose to degrade ourselves with a lack of integrity and/or be unethical. Lacking integrity will lead us to limit ourselves, our potential, and our happiness.
A person with integrity has unlimited bounds. While it is true they "can't" do some things, it is by not doing those very things (that would hurt their integrity) that they have their unlimited bounds.
Someone one said "You can't roll in the mud without getting dirty." The lack of integrity is like mud. It weighs us down, holds us back, and wrecks havoc in our life.
It's not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity. -Francis Bacon, Sr.
Integrity can actually simplify life. It doesn't need a class, or a program, or a teacher. Because a person who has integrity tends to want to be focused. The things that aren't helping, fall away.
And the things that matter most, stay and become even better.
Being True to Ourselves
Each of us has a lot to us. We have needs, desires, wants, passions. We are not robots. Each of us has things we need to be able to be happy.
And so it is critical that we do things for ourselves, besides what we do for others.
Personally I find it odd that our society puts so much emphasis on serving others, yet not ourselves. Society only seems to focus on helping ourselves with pleasure, a fleeting thing.
I would suggest we build and satisfy ourselves with things our soul really wants. And what are those things? Only you can find that out. It's something very personal, and like finding the right shoes, car, book, etc, you'll know it when you find/see/feel it.
But you have to take the time to find out. Don't rely on someone/something making you "see the light." Life isn't a movie.
I would suggest you ask God. I believe in asking experts for expert advice, and He's the expert. Each of us has a God given power we were born with.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
This is the best part of all. Things in life tend to have a cycle. The seasons, the day, may things have a cycle that feeds upon itself.
The same is with integrity. A person that has it, who is true to themselves and those they love, tends to be healthier, happier, more confident, and overall leads a better life.
Plus, they tend to have the respect of others. Others trust them. God trusts them. And while this is not a good reason to have integrity (reward systems tend to be short lived) it is something to keep in mind.
For when all is said and done, all we have is ourselves to look in the mirror.
He's the fellow to please—never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear to the end.
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test,
If the man in the glass is your friend.
And that's for men, women, children... everyone. It's a reality for us all.