A Framework for Integrity (and Beyond)

Honesty is easy when it’s convenient. That’s when your honesty is an act.

Integrity — that is, honesty as a core identity — means fully accepting the consequences of one’s honesty. Always, no choice or conscious thought put into it.

What do I mean by that?

To be honest just *sometimes* is a “doing” that takes from people, since there’s a conscious choice whether to be honest based externally on a context. Honesty as a “doing” requires that context, and so necessarily the honesty acts as a way to seek an outcome from others. That’s manipulation.

In contrast, to be honest *always* is a “being” that, as a “being,” thus not a conscious choice to seek outcomes from others but rather a true expression from oneself to others, thus gives to others. An authentic expression. Regardless of the context or outcome from others, the same.

That’s what I mean when I say that integrity means fully accepting the consequences of one’s honesty. The consequences of one’s own honesty, as integrity, do not even register as part of the equation in the expression of that honesty.

Integrity doesn’t “do”; it just is.

…which you could say is just a clever deconstruction. But I’d argue that it’s way more than that too.

The delta between honesty and integrity is something you can feel energetically, deep in your nerve endings. Maybe you can’t always even put a name to it. That’s why I use the word “energetic.” You get that sense when you’re talking with someone with integrity, and you know without even necessarily consciously knowing. True integrity relaxes you in a social context. Integrity inspires quick trust. Integrity has social energetic weight.

See? Integrity doesn’t “do”; it just is.

I somehow manage to bring everything back to organizing, so here goes: organizing is a lifestyle. If you incorporate integrity into your life, even necessarily including and particularly when you’re not organizing, then when you’re having organizing conversations, it won’t be an act, it won’t be manipulation, it won’t be based on any external context, it won’t be “taking.” Your organizing will become a “being,” and people can sense that, even if not entirely consciously.

You don’t need the person you’re having an organizing conversation with to do anything, but they totally should. You’re allowing them, in your true expression of self, to choose, totally without even the energetic social pressure that comes with the desire for your desired outcome, and that makes their choice *real* and completely theirs.

Yet paradoxically, when you never lie as a being, when you’re honest without conscious thought, when you have integrity, etc. — your words will have more power. Your words will be a “being” that, as a “being,” thus not a conscious choice to seek outcomes from others but rather a true expression from oneself to others, gives to others. An authentic expression. Regardless of the context or outcome from others, the same.

Your organizing will have social energetic weight.

Are you seeing the framework that I’m building?

I say apply the same logic to any social-emotional characteristic you want beyond honesty: humor, confidence, observance, reliability, fearlessness, etc. Point is, don’t incorporate these traits into your organizing only, or more broadly: don’t incorporate these traits into just a portion of your life. Make it a total lifestyle, a “being” without conscious thought, a true expression of yourself to give to others, regardless of context.

In other words, make sure that those characteristics, nay — that: you have integrity.

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