Integrity is what you do when nobody is looking.
Do you cheat at solitaire, steal from an untended garage sale, or keep something a store forgets to charge you for? If so, integrity may not be your strongest trait.
Similarly, if you let the actions of others dictate your behavior, you may be integrity impaired.
If you get cut off in traffic, do suddenly feel justified in cutting off the next guy?
If you have a dollar stolen from your desk, does that make it okay to take a candy bar from the honor-system candy box?
If the last guy left the water cooler empty, are you going to refuse to refill it the next time you are the one to drink the last drop?
If you’re answering yes to these questions, it may be time to examine your moral code. Doing the right thing means doing the right thing all of the time. You can’t be an honorable person if you resort to dishonorable behavior whenever you dislike what someone else does, especially if your actions are hurting an entirely uninvolved 3rd party.
You know the proper behavior. You know what the ethical choice is. The fact that someone else made an unethical choice doesn’t give you a license to be a dick.
If it’s your turn to clean the community refrigerator, do it and do it well, even if the last guy did a poor job.
If the last mom driving the car pool showed up late, don’t deliberately forget her kid.
If someone forgot to pay at a group lunch and you covered it, that doesn’t mean you can skip out on the bill next time.
Even if everything else is taken from you, no one can ever steal your ethics, your integrity, or your honor. Those things are up to you to destroy, and they nearly impossible to replace.
In all cases, in all things, do the right thing. You won’t be sorry.
Resurrected from the archives.