There are a number of definitions for integrity:
- Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
- The quality of being honest and fair.
- Doing the right thing even when nobody's looking.
The definition of integrity that resonates with me is from the Oxford Dictionary, which states, Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
The qualities of being honest... Simple yet difficult for many. Having strong moral principles; moral uprightness... Becoming more and more challenging each day as can be seen through increased perversities throughout our cultures and societies.
I've learned many lessons over the years: some easier than others. One of those lessons is that integrity is a defining virtue of your life. A virtue not to be taken for granted. A virtue that when nurtured and cared for will bear much fruit; fruit that will nourish your soul and the soul's of others.
The topic of integrity in sports has come up in the media on several occasions over the past week. First, with the New England Patriots and the accusations the team broke NFL rules by deflating 11 of 12 footballs used in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, and again, when once revered cyclist Lance Armstrong said in an interview that he'd again use performance-enhancing drugs if faced with the same circumstances.
You see, the thing about integrity is that you either have it or you do not. You can spend a lifetime building it only to lose it in an instant through one senseless or foolish act; one lapse in judgement, so you must protect it by reminding yourself to do the right thing even when nobody's looking. By doing so you will build a reputation of being honest and having strong moral principles.