Integrity really is at the heart of all that we are – or it should be.
The fundamental premise behind this blog is my discovery back in 2007, when I was living in South Devon, England with Pharaoh, that dogs are creatures of integrity. As is written elsewhere in this place:
Dogs are part of the Canidae, a family including wolves, coyotes and foxes, thought to have evolved 60 million years ago. There is no hard evidence about when dogs and man came together but dogs were certainly around when man developed speech and set out from Africa, about 50,000 years ago. See an interesting article by Dr. George Johnson.
Because of this closeness between dogs and man, we (as in man!) have the ability to observe the way they live. Now I’m sure that scientists would cringe with the idea that the way that a dog lives his life sets an example for us humans, well cringe in the scientific sense. But man seems to be at one of those defining stages in mankind’s evolution where the forces bearing down on the species homo sapiens have the potential to cause very great harm. If the example of dogs can provide a beacon of hope, an incentive to change at a deep cultural level, then the quicker we ‘get the message’, the better it will be.
- are integrous ( a score of 210) according to Dr David Hawkins
- don’t cheat or lie
- don’t have hidden agendas
- are loyal and faithful
- love unconditionally
- value and cherish the ‘present’ in a way that humans can only dream of achieving
- are, by eons of time, a more successful species than man.
And have poetry written for them:
If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
You are probably the family dog!
So an essay that I came across in undertaking research for ‘the book’ really struck a chord. An essay written by Stephanie Staples (see footnote), and you can learn more about her at this place. Her essay was entitled Reflections On The Value of Integrity and is republished here with Stephanie’s very kind permission.
Your Life, Unlimited
Reflections on The Value of Integrity?
Integrity comes into play in everything we do.
In fact, it’s more than everything we do,
it’s everything we are.
Having a high level of integrity is one of the most important characteristics we can possess. It is a core value, a choice, and something we can nurture. Integrity is modeled all around us, yet its value in our society seems to be underrated.
Coming from a place of integrity means being truthful and honest. It means being reliable. It means trying to build rather than break, help rather than hurt, connect rather than crumble. Coming from a place of integrity means being authentic—the same you, whether people are watching or not.
We will not always be right or do right, but when we have integrity, we step up; we accept responsibility for our actions, we feel remorse, we have an understanding of what went wrong and why it happened so that we can put a plan in place to ensure it won’t happen again.
You know how a bad reputation follows you around? Well, the fabulous thing about living life brimming with integrity is that it actually precedes you. If you tell the truth even when you don’t have to, do the right thing even when nobody is around to notice, honestly do your best, keep your promises, etc., then that is what people will assume of you. Your actions define your character. This comes in handy so when you do make a mistake, people tend to give you the benefit of the doubt, and perhaps forgive more easily. You see how the reputation comes first? Can you see how it could work in reverse as well? If you lack integrity, people will not trust, value or respect you.
Think about how integrity plays a role in your life, in the life of your family, and in your career. Think about what sort of values you are modeling, how you are modeling them, and how you can live a life of integrity.
This could mean being honest and saying your son is 12, even if he looks 11, and 12 years olds have to pay. This may mean answering a call light of a patient who is not ‘yours.’ It might mean accommodating a request even if you don’t want to. Perhaps it is giving credit where credit is due? What might it mean to you?
If you are not getting what you want out of your life, then look inside and see exactly what’s going on in your life. I know if you focus on being a person of integrity, your character will be strengthened, your relationships at home and at work will be strengthened, and your life will be strengthened. Start by being honest and true to yourself, and the rest will follow.
One final point—it is not just the big things that count, it is the hundreds of little things we do every day that mould our character, that develop our integrity, and that help us live our lives, unlimited!
Of all the qualities that we have to learn from dogs, the one of integrity is the most important, by a mile. Stephanie’s essay gets to the heart of what integrity really means in a way that I have not previously come across. I am very grateful to have been given her permission to republish it.
Stephanie Staples is a member of Rockford Kingsley’s Advisory Board
and is a proud Canadian coach and speaker who helps audiences
around North America shift their perspective and kick up the quality of their life!