We say what we mean and we mean what we say.

On this canvas I define personal integrity term I do my best to personally conform to, as well as use cases and exercises to improve it.

What is it?

Personal integrity is one’s behavior output derived from some event’s input staying the same regardless of a social context one’s in.

Good Integrity. Bad integrity.

Good integrity:

  • You sit with a person A and discuss person B. Person B walks in. Conversation and idea flow continues smoothly without any interruptions and changes in tone or topic;
  • You sit with a bunch of people discussing a core idea. Everyone gave input and they’re coherent with the idea being shitty. Deep inside you think this is the best idea. You take your turn and say it loud and clear with no hesitation.

Bad integrity:

  • You sit with a person A and you really want B from this person. You say things that are not true in order to get B;
  • You’re in situation A and deep inside you know the right way to act is B. But in your current social context, let it be social pressure you’re not acting B, you’re acting C;

  • Employing complex privacy rules for content distribution on social media.

Integrity vs Privacy

Don’t mistake privacy for integrity breach. To provide a context, these are main simplified layers of privacy for me:

1) You

2) Family and friends

3) Other people

It’s fine not to share information to level 3 from levels 2 or 1, but it’s a sign of a problem if you don’t share information from level 3 to e.g. level 2 though.

Put differently, you should work on improving integrity within buckets first and do your best to stay coherent across the whole funnel which is, of course, narrowing down, starting with the “Level 1 You” on top.

Example of a bad integrity would be a habit of employing complex privacy rules for content distribution on social media, especially across buckets, e.g. you share your photo with ‘public’ mode, excluding one of your friends and sister.

Mental Checks

These are short ones that can give you back your integrity when you lose it by allowing yourself to conduct a short, mental test.

Check #1

Mentally place a person you’re referring to in a discussion with someone just in front of you. Check if you feel uncomfortable saying same things you’ve been saying?

Check #2 (one only for people privacy layer)

Imagine having words you’re saying printed on the headlines of NY times or any other major newspaper tomorrow. Do you feel weird?

In the end

We can’t keep our integrity in check all the time 100% because we are humans. Humans make mistakes and miscalculations.

Sometimes, edge-cases happen and you have to drift off. We should always thrive to achieve 100% integrity though, it will lead to a better-shaped society.

For a dessert I serve my personal rule of thumb: setting reasonable integrity expectations when listening, deploying full integrity when talking.