No human being can have 100% integrity. This is a rule of nature dictated by our inevitable connection to our material selves. As an analogy, let us examine a hypothetical god. The god we conceive has 100% integrity. Integrity= being responsible for the occurrence of an outcome you commit to. When god decides to do something, he always has the integrity to get that thing done. This is the definition of omnipotence.
It is said that you can do anything that you put your mind to. This is true to a point. I can lift my arm in the air because I put my mind to it. But this is easy. Can I level a mountain if I put my mind to it? One might say no, but let's examine further.
It is possible that I could take a course of action that could level a mountain. I could go to school and become a noted geological engineer. I could use all my time and energy developing new mining technologies. I could direct my efforts towards patentable technologies that make me considerable sums of money. And I could use those skills and resources to buy a mountain property and level it to the ground. God can do this with its mind. We have to work a bit harder at it.
But how about something really difficult? Perhaps my dog always howls at the moon, and since the sound of my dog's howling reminds me of a hippopotamus calf hacking, I decide that the moon must be removed from the sky. Could I ever accomplish this in my lifetime? Perhaps I could become a fabulously wealthy space entrepreneur and I could mine away the entire moon to build hotel chains around the Earth. Or perhaps I could be a notable politician who campaigns to have the moon destroyed so as to promote more regular oceanic tides. Whatever the case, such an outcome is HIGHLY UNLIKELY.
So while the possibility always exists that we can do anything we put our minds to, we are always bumping into the probability inherent in the universe when we discuss integrity. Some things are so improbable that everyone would say they can not be done. But is this truth?
If Ghandi had told people in 1915 that he would lead the nation of India away from the British Empire and into freedom, everyone would have said it could not be done. 30 years later, Ghandi did indeed lead his people out of the shackles of imperialism. Why? Because Ghandi had a vision that he was committed to, a free India, and he had a high measure of integrity.
Integrity is sacrifice and selflessness. Integrity is not getting enough sleep, not getting enough food, not playing that round of golf on Saturday. Integrity is having the responsibility that when you say something is going to happen, it gets done. Integrity entails personal sacrifice. Integrity is not always fun, but it is rewarding.
Integrity is the only way to build a base of power. Power comes from others believing that what you say is true, and that what you say will happen will in fact happen. The only way to build power is by doing what you say you are going to do, i.e. by having integrity.
Now this is not something that a person can attempt once, accomplish their stated goal and then proclaim, 'I have integrity.' No, integrity is built solidly and generated commitment by fulfilled commitment. And the base of power is only as strong as the integrity of the promises it is built on. To use plain English, if you go around telling people you are going to do things and you don't follow through, they don't believe you when you make commitments. They aren't enrollable in your ideas because of your lack of integrity.
But far worse than it's effect on others is its effect on yourself. You know when you are succeeding or failing in your integrity. You know better than anyone. And when you feel integrity, your communication changes. People believe you without convincing, without a sales talk. They can feel the force of your conviction, the depth of your commitment, the resolution of your responsibility. Indeed, those who do the best job selling (i.e. conning,) are often those most lacking in integrity, perhaps not to others, but often to themselves.
To return to our hypothetical god, imagine you had100% integrity. What would this mean for you? What if you had to do everything you said you would do, no excuses, no exceptions, 100% with no rationalizations? What kind of being would you be?
I would say, you would be selfless. You would have to be completely without desire, want or ego. But one might claim, aren’t these the characteristics of the enlightened? Yes indeed, but there is one additional factor that the hypothetical god doesn't have that you do...a body. Like it or not, your material form is always going to impose demands on you that keep you from 100% integrity. Hunger, thirst, passion, want… all limit us from attaining total integrity. We can approach perfection, but never attain it.