Integrity is similar in meaning to a word we all encountered in math class at school, namely the word integer. As you remember, an integer in math means a whole number and similarly, integrity means wholeness or always projecting one set of standards to the world. Over the years the true meaning of integrity has been refined and it has come to mean a standard of positive personal morality and ethics rather than simply acting consistently and in line with your own set of standards. Acting ethically is not something you can change relative to any specific situation; it is something, which must reflect your true positive character and high ethical standards at all times.

The thing that astounds me the most about ethics and ethical standards, is that if you ask a room full of people, if they think society as a whole has good ethical standards. Only a few people raise their hands, believing that the world is filled with ethical people. When you however ask the same room how many people in the room have high ethical standards themselves, everyone in the room raises their hands. There seems to be a massive gap between what we believe we see all around us, where there is a massive lack in ethics and people admitting that they are contributing to the problem.

I have asked this same question at a prison where I was doing an inspirational talk and not surprisingly, the same percentage of people (prison inmates) thought that society lacked integrity and every single prison inmate raised their hands to say they had integrity. The challenge as I see it, is that we look around our world and see what we believe to be low ethical standards all around us, yet everyone observing these low ethical standards, believes their own ethical standards are immaculate.

If everyone on this planet has unquestionable levels of integrity, yet society at large lacks integrity, then where does the problem lie? I think the answer to this is pretty obvious, yes it lies with you. Do you operate from impeccable levels of integrity all the time or do you bend the rules occasionally to suite your own needs at the time. Look back over the past week, was there ever a time that you told even a small lie, exaggerated or in any way acted out of integrity? I am sure that we are all guilty of some level of breakdown in our level of integrity over the past week.

As you know what we see around us in our outer world, is really a reflection of our own inner world. So if you are looking at a world which you feel is filled with a huge lack of integrity, maybe it is time to reflect on your own ethical standards and see if there is some room for improvement. It is really difficult for us to change the ethical standards of everyone around us, but we can immediately change our own standards. Imagine what a wonderful world this would be if everyone did in fact act ethically at all times.

I know we all hate the concept of taking responsibility for everything in our lives. The reality is that, until we all do take responsibility for our roles in contributing to the overall lack of integrity in our worlds, nothing will change. If taking responsibility seems a really challenging concept, then choose another way of looking at the same thing, namely take charge of your life and world. When you accept responsibility and you finally take charge of your life and the way you act. You begin to unconsciously act ethically in every facet of your life and amazingly exactly that same behaviour is reflected back at you from your world. If you want to see positive change in the world, it can only start with you. Stop trying to influence others with your hollow words, it is time to take the lead and to stop telling and start showing. Become a role model and show everyone around you that you are ethical, by means of the daily actions you take and the words you speak.

Author's Bio: 

I empower exceptional people, winning teams and authentic leaders, inspiring them to shift their behaviour and attitude, encouraging sustainable and on-going development, so that they can consistently experience outstanding results. The tools and techniques which I offer, have all been tested and proven effective, in the laboratory of my many successful businesses, my own personal life and the lives and businesses of my clients over the past 20 years. These very clients have also become testament to the efficacy of my methods, as they have moved their personal lives and their businesses, onto a new plane of success and achievement. I offer real tools and functional practical methods that work, not regurgitated material from a few self-help books that I have read.