Michael Robinson | Integrity is Private and Public Honesty


“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”

What is integrity? And, why is it important to have within our  lives?

First, I’ll share what it is. It is summed up by these following sayings by Don Galer and Spencer Johnson: “Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.” and “Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”

Integrity is when you say what you will do. It’s what you do, when you are alone. It is being honest with yourself. And, you cannot be honest with others, until you can be honest with yourself.

Why are people shocked when famous people in power are exposed for doing something controversial? Meaning, someone publically fights against something he/she doesn’t agree with, yet is actually indulging in the thing he/she fights against, privately. Why is this so? Does it just randomly happen? No, it is because he/she lacks integrity or the boldness to show the world what he/she truly believes. It’s just like a president of a vegan organization, being caught eating a burger and having a milkshake at McDonald’s. A person who fights against something, without being stained by it, is one of true integrity.

Also, integrity is also doing what you say you’ll do. When you tell someone you will do something for them, and then do not do it, that’s not being honest. This is bad because not doing what was promised, only weakens your good name and reputation among people. In fact, whenever you promise something, it will be viewed as a joke. The person will have doubts, meaning they will not truly believe you or rely on you.

How can we prevent these negatives from happening? How can we have persistence integrity?

A saying by Chinua Achebe says, “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”

Like it says, don’t be compromised. That does not just mean by the peer-pressure of others, but also keeping you from compromising with yourself.

“Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you know he never will.”

When you say you will do something for someone, do not let anything stop you from doing it. And, if something HONESTLY comes up that’s vitally important (due to an emergency), just let that person know.

If you say publicly  “I don’t watch TV.” Either avoid watching TV or be honest and say, “I watch a little TV but not everyday.”

You can fool others for awhile, but you cannot fool yourself. A person who constantly lies to himself is not truly free or not as happy as he could be. Living a life where you persistently let people down or pretend to be something you’re not, is not a truly happy life.

A lack of integrity, is also an obstacle to things like goals. You will not accomplish what you say you will, if you do not do what you say you will, privately.

In conclusion, it is better to be true with your self and others, than to be living a lie. It is better to promise something you are sure you will do, so you can have a good reputation. Let’s work on our integrity.


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