When you keep a commitment, you make a major deposit into the emotional bank account of the other person. You go into default when you break that commitment. Breaking a commitment is a major withdrawal of the trust the other person can place in you.

Do you keep your word? Integrity often gets confused with truth. Integrity is much more than simply telling the truth. Telling the truth is making your words match reality. As my kids say, "easy peasy." But integrity is much more. Integrity is making reality conform to your word. Integrity is keeping your word.

Principles govern our behavior. We create positive consequences when we live in harmony with our principles. This is "walking your talk." Violate your principles, and negative consequences naturally follow. We are free to choose our response to any situation. We, as sovereign free people, are free to chose to keep our word and to live with integrity. In making that choice, we also choose the accompanying consequence.

The most important way to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. Those who are not present to defend themselves are open to attack, and often are attacked. How many times have you watched someone say negative things about another who is not present, knowing that they would not dream of saying any of it to the person's face? I have witnessed this behavior and met it with a sharp retort many times. As a good friend of mine says, “better to front-stab than backstab.” More importantly, we manifest great integrity when we rise to defend those who are absent. When we defend the person who is not there, we earn the trust of those who are present to witness our action. When was the last time you rose in defense of one not present, to demand that honor be given?

Principles are never values. A group of executives, a collection of politicians, or a gang of thieves, all can share the same values, but they are in violation of the fundamental principles that we are talking about. Principles are the territory, the actual land of our behavior. Values are nothing more than the maps.

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