What is the importance of integrity? by Oscar Mairs


I was asked this tough question the other day by a friend; What is the importance of integrity?

Hell, I know that this post won’t serve my goals, or reap attention and praise, but it seeks to help those who care to listen. That is because I have integrity. I believe in placing the interests of others before myself. This question gives me a chance to share some of my deeper life philosophy, a little practical wisdom learned through my fitness journey. First of all, integrity can be defined as the adherence to a system of beliefs, a moral code. Integrity could also be described as a state of being whole and undivided. That sounds all cute and agreeable, if idealistic, but why is integrity critical in this day and age? Well, I think it is the secret to happiness, but that’s my humble opinion.

We live in a moral vacuum. Life is becoming increasingly competitive and cutthroat, altruism is sacrificed for what’s expedient. If you want to succeed you must place self-interest above all else. An attitude of that nature lends itself to the pursuit of immediate gratification. After all, you want to reap the fruits of your labour right? Our idea of happiness has been manipulated by consumer culture to tap that desire for sensory titillation. The social conveyor belts of Instagram and Facebook churn out images of happiness as an objectified end goal. We think that we can’t be happy without the best luxury car, the finest clothes and rampant promiscuity. Let me tell you, you will be a pathetic slave to desire if you let yourself be controlled by these illusions of grandeur. You will be left feeling weak, inadequate and unfulfilled.

Too many of us define ourselves by that which we have, and not what we are. You will never be happy if you externalise your happiness, or lose your dignity in your dogged pursuit of a false dream. Instead, look within yourself. Are you happy with what you see in the mirror? Do you take pride in your abilities and character? Do you respect who you see? If you do, what need do you have for a Lamborghini? What need do you have for casual sex that satisfies nothing but a fleeting sense of self worth? Validate yourself. Look within, not without. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. There is an old Buddhist aphorism that simply states; “All unhappiness stems from comparison.” There is immense power to be found in this realisation. I would rather be respected for who I am, not what I have. For that reason I sold my first car out of guilt. It was a top of the range luxury Hummer on 24-inch rims, but I can honestly say that I am happier without it. Be yourself. Don’t define yourself by external coordinates. Find your own moral compass and stick to it, be that to show love, compassion and kindness, or to ensure that you lift those dependent on you with the might of your character. Most important of all, keep your soul whole and undivided. Only then can you align your consciousness with the positive energy of the universe and beam like sun.

Have integrity.

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