Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Living With Integrity

From the CTM Email Bin:
What advice or thoughts do you have about the fact that it's tough to find role models in the public eye either for me as an adult, or for my kids who are growing up fast?

I'm so glad you asked. Over the course of the coming months / year we will be writing about the tenets of a Conquer The Monkey lifestyle. How to live a common sense and fulfilling life.

One of the CTM lifestyle tenets is to live with INTEGRITY. Integrity is defined as a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. But you don't need the Merriam Webster dictionary to tell you what the word means.

In our modern culture integrity embodies a person who lives their life to a certain standard that others deem honest and trustworthy. You want someone with integrity by your side when the chips are down, or to go into business with, and you certainly want to be viewed as someone with integrity. Someone with integrity does the right thing, even when nobody is watching and nobody will know about it. They do things not for the glory, but simply because it's the right thing to do.

It is difficult to find role models in the public eye that fulfill this integrity tenet. When you read the newspaper, magazines, or turn on the T.V. it is most common these days to hear politicians double talking and being hypocritical, or professional athletes breaking records - only to find those records tainted by steroids or even celebrities, who are fawned over and glamorized, ending up in rehab, cheating on their spouse, or pimping out their kids for PR. None of these people demonstrate integrity in their acts, nor should they be admired. But, this is who the media props up for us nonetheless.

In general, do not depend on politicians, athletes or celebrities as your role models. Your role model will unlikely be someone under the microscope of the media. Understand what it means to live with integrity and, if you can, find someone in your life, a friend, a sister, a brother, a cousin, or even your own parent to look to as a role model. If your common sense doesn't automatically lead you to an integrity based decision, ask yourself what your mentor or role model would do in that same scenario.

I also wanted to take this moment to highlight a news story you might have heard about already. The Mayor of Milwaukee, WI got beat up with a metal pipe this week because he intervened to assist a woman crying out for help (see article here Here was a politician, throwing his own safety and caution to the wind in order to do the right thing.

Doing the right thing, without hope of glory or reward, is a rare thing these days for politicians (or others in the public eye). I'm not suggesting that you go hurl yourself into the middle of an attack, but he was there to try and call 911, to insert himself in a situation that most people probably would rather have ignored (domestic violence scenario). This Milwaukee Mayor strikes me as someone with integrity.

We could all use to insert a little more integrity into the way we live our lives. Make things less about our own selfish desires and more about what is right for the greater good in any given situation. A little integrity could go a long way in today's world.

thoughts? comments? questions? Got a vexing dilemma?
comment here or email me at

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's so true... integrity often isn't admired any more. The media hypes up all sorts of celebrities who have done ghastly things and gotten away with it. It seems the more flawed they are, the more forgiving the media is. It just drives me crazy sometimes!