To me, integrity is one of the most important things a person can have. All the values I’ve done monthly quote collations of are important, don’t get me wrong, but integrity is definitely near the top of the list. It often requires many of the other virtues to enact. In its simplest form, it is being true to yourself and doing the right thing, even when that is hard or detrimental.
It’s important to me in my personal life, but it’s also really important to me professionally. Believe it or not, lawyers have an incredibly strict code of ethics. One of my jobs is regulating practitioners who fall short or outright violate that code. The code makes it clear that our first duty is to the court, and our second to the client. Even if it hurts your client, you cannot mislead the court; even if it hurts you, you must serve your client to the best of your ability. So, despite what TV may suggest, a lawyer (in Australia, at least) cannot go in front of the court and argue that their client is innocent of a crime if the client has told the lawyer that they are guilty. If a client tells you one thing, you cannot tell the court another, and if your client insists that you must, you need to withdraw from the case, no matter how many dollarydoos you’ll get by staying in it.
There’s a whole bunch of other things in that code that we have to uphold – we have to be courteous, not bring the profession into disrepute, act in a timely manner, etc.
I’m really passionate about this, so it bothers me massively when I see people (particularly my fellow lawyers) breaching our ethical code, failing to uphold or enforce the law, or generally taking the easy way out just because the hard way is, well, hard. My family and colleagues have had to sit through several rants recently when I got outraged that someone was behaving in a way that I did not think demonstrated integrity. I hope I never do lose that outrage, even if it bores the people around me, because this is important.
As a result, this is a month I was really quite excited to do the quotes for.
Please excuse my cover picture of the doughnut, by the way. I use a free stock photo engine for my cover photos, and the only thing for “integrity” was a picture of circuit boards, so in the end I had to go with “goodness”, which offered me many pictures of attractive men and one of a doughnut. I’m pretty into doughnuts, so I figured that at least that would be true to myself, which is part of integrity…so, yes. A doughnut is now the symbol of integrity.
One final side-note: I’ve decided to start linking the author of the quote to a short thing about them in case you like a quote and want to find out more about the person who said it. Let me know in the comments if that is useful or just unnecessary and boring.
Anyway, the quotes.
- “Supporting the truth, even when it is unpopular, shows the capacity for honesty and integrity.” – Steve Brunkhorst
- “One of your most prized possessions is integrity; if this is you, then you should never compromise it.” – Byron Pulsifer
- “Power really is a test of character. In the hands of a person of integrity, it is a tremendous benefit; in the hands of a tyrant, it causes terrible destruction.” – John Maxwell
- “Make living your life with absolute integrity and kindness your first priority.” – Richard Carlson
- “Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr
- “Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz
- “Admitting one’s own faults is the first step to changing them, and it is a demonstration of true bravery and integrity” – Philip Johnson (If I have correctly attributed this quote, I recognise the irony of quoting a Nazi sympathiser and possible Nazi agent who was utterly lacking in integrity, and I think it is important to acknowledge that there is absolutely no integrity in just paying lip service to the concept. If I’ve attributed this wrongly, then I apologise to the Philip Johnson who actually said it and sincerely hope he isn’t a Nazi.)
- “The personal cost of keeping your own ethics sound and true may seem a bit of a burden at times but that is a minimal price to pay to be true to yourself. There is absolutely no advantage to changing or altering a set of ethics that portray a person of value and integrity.” – Byron Pulsifer
- “When you make a commitment to yourself, do so with the clear understanding that you’re pledging your integrity.” – Stephen Covey
- “A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.” – Baltasar Gracian
- “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” – Chinua Achebe
- “Six eseential qualities that are the key to success: sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity.” – Dr William Menninger
- “Having a grateful disposition brings about other virtues, including generosity, compassion, humility, joy, wisdom, trust and integrity.” – Bree Miller
- “We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters…that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules…and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” – Michelle Obama
- “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” – C. S. Lewis
- “A life lived with integrity – even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune – is a shining star in whose light others my follow in the years to come.” – Denis Waitley
- “You can’t, in sound morals, condemn a man for taking care of his own integrity. It is his clear duty.” – Joseph Conrad
- “Integrity is making sure that the things you do and the things you say are in alignment.” – Katrina Mayer
- “With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.” – Zig Ziglar
- “Characterise people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.” – Anonymous
- “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters .” – Albert Einstein
- “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” – Franklin Roosevelt
- “People may doubt what you say but they will always believe what you do.” – Anonymous
- “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody is going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey
- “To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.” – Confucius
- “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” – William Shakespeare
- “What is left when honour is lost?” – Publilius Syrus
- “No one can be happy who has been thurst outside the pale of turth. And there are two ways that one can be removed from this realm: by lying, or by being lied to.” – Seneca
- “There are seven things that will destroy us: wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without character; religion with sacrifice; politics without principle; science without humanity; business without ethics.” – Gandhi
- “May integrity and uprightness guard me as I wait for you.” – Psalm 25:2
What is the most valuable virtue for you?