Yoram Yasur Abt: Recovering integrity

Today the same importance is no longer given to integrity, although is one of the most essential human virtues. Integrity is constituted by the principles and values that give direction, meaning and depth to our lives. These principles represent our awareness of good and bad, not born by rules of conduct, but by the sense of who we are. These principles include righteousness, courage, justice and generosity, which are forged every time we make a difficult decision. However, there are those who doubt that the internal values even serve something.

Many have come to believe that all it takes to succeed is talent, drive and personality. But history teaches us that, ultimately, is more important who we are than who we appear to be. Long ago, almost everything that was written about success and personal growth started from what might be called the ethics of integrity. People like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson expressed their conviction that success and authentic happiness is only achieved if integrity is the cornerstone of life. A value system that is based only on skills and personality makes heroes out of athletes, musicians and business leaders. Still, however much admiration we profess to these winners, we must not always consider them virtuous. Yoram Yasur Abt: While skills are necessary for success, they do not guarantee happiness or fulfillment.

To develop integrity, age is not important. The key is to learn to look inside ourselves, to work from the inside out. With this approach, private victories come before public ones. Private purposes are the ones we do to ourselves and to others, and that we accomplish. They don’t have to be very deep or imply radical changes. They can be very ordinary changes such as exercising daily. The first step for building integrity is to make a decision, committing to change and stick to it. We consolidate our integrity to the extent that we look for and fulfill purposes more and more difficult. What requires a great effort at first eventually becomes a habit. And the more we have the habit of being integral in the little things in life, we’ll be more in matters of greater weight.

This is how private accomplishments lead to public ones. For example, if you want more freedom at work, first we must show more responsibility; to achieve a happy marriage, you first have to be a source of love, generosity and trust. Yoram Yasur Abt: Nothing is so fundamental to the integrity and trust. Whether our friends, spouses or co-workers place it on us, confidence can be gradually won under countless circumstances.

Another way to build integrity is to recognize our mistakes. An index of how much integrity we possess if how we react to what has gone wrong. All of us go through the ups and downs of life, and each is an opportunity to cultivate integrity that we sometimes lose without realizing it.

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