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                               IntegrityIQCouple            “What’s your IQ?”

Have you ever been asked that question? If so, how did you respond? Without doubt you interpreted the question in reference to your intelligence. How smart are you? What is your intelligence quotient—your IQ? Since intelligence is important you might want to know just how smart you are.

To determine our IQ (that is, our Intelligence Quotient) we could complete standardized testing utilizing the Wechsler scales and a psychologist can interpret the results to measure our intelligence. The score might be high enough to place us in the “above average” or perhaps even in the “genius” category. If our IQ score falls in the top 2% of the population we might qualify for membership in Mensa International and join the 120,000 other geniuses from around the globe.

As important as intelligence is to most people there is another IQ that is of far greater value. That IQ is our Integrity Quotient. How much personal integrity do we possess? What is our Integrity Quotient? The process for measuring personal integrity is not as simple as the methods we use for measuring mental intelligence. Our Integrity Quotient cannot be measured by a typical Wechsler scale. We could measure integrity as a range from None to Low to Moderate to High. The level or degree of integrity obviously varies from person to person. In terms of measurement there is no perfection; no one gets a perfect score. There is always room at the top of the scale for additional growth. While personal integrity can be increased it can also be decreased—or lost entirely. We want to explore the growth of integrity, but first let’s consider the results that occur when personal integrity is lost.

 

Measuring the Loss of Integrity

One measurement of personal integrity is the loss of integrity. When we lose integrity what exactly is being lost? As stated in an earlier article entitled “Personal Integrity:  Reclaiming the Meaning” integrity involves moral traits such as honesty, wholeness, sincerity, singleness of purpose, soundness, and sound moral principles. Secondly, integrity is the ability of an object to fulfill the basic function or purpose for which it was made. These definitions suggest two important themes:  positive morality and practical function. Therefore, the loss of integrity involves the decrease of or the total loss of an individual’s positive morality and practical function. Any attempt to measure the loss ofTitanicShipBorder integrity makes one conclusion quite clear:  the price tag is extremely high.

The loss of functional integrity could be illustrated clearly by an event that occurred in maritime history on April 15, 1912. The unsinkable Titanic was sailing from England to New York City when the ship struck an iceberg. The ship’s hull was breached, water flooded the ship, and the Titanic sank in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The ship’s hull was designed to fulfill a function; it was built for a purpose. When the hull was compromised the hull lost its integrity. It could no longer fulfill its function—and the Titanic went down. Without basic integrity all sailing ships are doomed to disaster.

Let’s recall the second definition of integrity: the ability of an object to fulfill the basic function for which it was made. In terms of function when integrity is maintained the object succeeds; when integrity is lost the object fails. Likewise, without integrity individuals cannot stay afloat on the Ocean of Life. Throughout human history countless millions of people have sunk on life’s ocean due to a loss of personal integrity. In our contemporary world people who lose integrity are sinking daily in the Sea of Private Business and the Sea of Public Leadership. Similarly, many educators have lost their way on the Sea of Education through their failure to practice integrity as evidenced by financial corruption, power abuses, and moral violations. Even the Sea of Religion is not immune to the compromise of integrity. Tragically, too many ministers and church leaders have lost their personal integrity through inappropriate behavior and have thereby invited public scrutiny and accusations of spiritual hypocrisy. The Sea of Morality is littered with damaged people who have made shipwreck of their moral integrity.

The loss of personal integrity has significant negative consequences for an individual’s health and well-being. Specifically, people who lose integrity suffer a decreased sense of self-respect that can prevent them from experiencing satisfaction from their efforts and accomplishments. Following the loss of integrity life begins to lose its meaning and, without meaning, our days feel empty and hollow. The loss of meaning often invites depression, despair, and even death. We would do well to learn from Mr. Percy Pollow, a fictional character about whom I wrote the following limerick.

                     “The Death of Integrity”

               “Here lies in this grave Percy Pollow
               Whose days were quite empty and hollow;
                   When he cheated and lied
                   His integrity died—
               And life without meaning did follow.”
 
                                              -- Dr. Bill Baker (2015)

The loss of personal integrity involves the loss of its two basic components: truthfulness and trustworthiness. When truthfulness is lost the individual’s inner morality compass is absent. Without truthfulness the individual cannot possess genuine trustworthiness. Therefore, the loss of integrity represents a crisis that threatens the survival of both individuals and societies. To the extent that individuals choose to compromise and sacrifice their integrity on the altars of personal pleasure and social acceptance they will suffer personally from the negative consequences. These individuals cannot succeed or perhaps even survive in life without personal integrity grounded in truth and trust. Furthermore, the nation to which they belong will be undermined and sabotaged by the collective loss of personal integrity. For any nation of people integrity is the ability of that nation to fulfill its basic function. When national integrity is lost the future of that nation is in great jeopardy. Just as the Titanic sank in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean so a nation without integrity will also sink into oblivion in the Sea of Lost Integrity. No nation as a whole can survive for long without integrity based on truth and trust.

 

Measuring the Growth of IntegrityIntegrityMeasureGrowth
 
Integrity is measured not only by its loss but by its growth. Physical growth can be measured by wooden yardsticks, weight scales, and even clothing size. Everyone begins life with some amount of size and weight. But how can we measure personal integrity? No one starts out in life with automatic integrity. It is developed as we mature into adulthood, particularly as we choose those values for life which are internalized into our core values. These core values are the principles of right and wrong upon which we base our choices for daily behavior. These principles feed the growth of genuine personal integrity when they are based upon absolute truth rather than upon relative truth. (The superiority of absolute truth was explored in an earlier article.) We commit to these core values (or principles) and choose goals in life that will help us practice the values in everyday living. The way we live in private and in public is the same; we maintain consistency in our lifestyle whether we are around people or whether we are alone. Even though we make mistakes through human weakness we are quick to correct our behavior and to make appropriate amends for harm that we have caused other people. We possess the qualities of truthfulness and trustworthiness. We are able to resist pressures from other people or from circumstances to violate our core values and thereby betray our integrity. We are committed to the growth of personal integrity and are diligent to work daily toward improvement.

Ten accomplishments for a measurement of integrity . . .

These various traits of personal integrity can be considered as ten accomplishments that, added together, can be used as an Integrity Inventory to measure our current level of integrity. The ten accomplishments are as follows.   

1.    I have identified my personal core values for my life.
2.  These core values are based in absolute truth.
3.  I am personally committed to these core values.
4.  I have established personal goals that will help me live out these core values.
5.  My public behavior is consistent with my private behavior.
6.  My conscience is clear in regard to my values and actions.
7.  I correct myself when I make mistakes and make amends appropriately.
8.  I currently possess the qualities of truthfulness and trustworthiness.
9.  I am able to resist external pressures to violate my core values.
10. I am experiencing daily growth in my personal integrity.

Perhaps you would like to have an actual quantitative score as your “IQ” (your Integrity Quotient). I have developed an assessment inventory that is available at the end of this article. You respond to each of the ten statements with a 0 to 10 answer with 0 representing the lowest level and 10 representing the highest level of fulfillment at this point in your life. The range would suggest:  0-3 = Low; 4-6 = Moderate; 7-10 = High. The sum of the ten circled responses provides a total ranging from 0 to 100. The total number would reflect a Low, Moderate, or High level of current personal integrity, based upon the ten traits selected for the inventory.

Six steps for an Integrity Growth Plan . . .  IntegrityPossession

While we would do well to measure our current level of personal integrity we also need to consider goals for improvement and a plan of action for individual growth. Daily growth in our personal integrity is vital to our improvement as individual men and women. If you are committed to growth you can select any of the ten traits listed in the Integrity Inventory and develop an Integrity Growth Plan. The action plan would include at least six important steps. First, identify the specific trait about which you prefer growth. Secondly, describe your desired goal in the form of a clear objective statement. Thirdly, develop a list of “actions and activities to be decreased or avoided.” Fourthly, develop a list of “actions and activities to be increased and fulfilled.” Fifthly, write a statement of commitment to the plan of action. Sixthly, sign and date the plan of action.

 An additional plan of action can be created for any other integrity trait you select for which growth is desired. Set aside a few minutes each day for reviewing the plan and for committing to the plan through signing and dating it, preferably for ninety continuous days. If you work the plan of action purposely and deliberately for ninety straight days you should be well on the way of internalizing that particular trait into your personal integrity.    

The measurement of personal integrity involves both profession and possession. However, a profession alone is insufficient and unreliable. Any individual can profess to have integrity, but his professed integrity does not automatically prove a possessed integrity. The ten traits already discussed will provide a pretty good measurement of a possessed integrity. Essentially, for integrity possession to exist three vital questions must be considered and answered affirmatively. First, is the individual’s personal belief system based upon absolute truth rather than relative truth? Secondly, is his daily lifestyle consistent with his belief system (that is, his standard of truth and his core values)? Thirdly, to a significant level can this person be trusted? An affirmative response to these three questions will provide a reasonable (but not perfect) assessment of the individual’s possession of personal integrity.


CONCLUDING THOUGHTS . . .

IntegrityHighwayText

Too many people choose to travel through life with little or no attention given to personal integrity. They have limited interest in truthfulness and, as a result, their level of trustworthiness is minimal at best. They often struggle with issues of self-worth and self-respect. They set their hearts on power, possessions, and pleasures that advance their self-centered agendas. Predictably, their human relationships are usually superficial and short-term. Like the Titanic ship that sank from the loss of hull integrity these individuals will likely sink and perish in life from the loss of heart integrity.   

In contrast, you may be an individual who has chosen to travel through life on the Integrity Highway. You are committed to a lifestyle of truthfulness and, as a result, your level of trustworthiness is quite high. You possess a high degree of positive morality, and your integrity enables you to fulfill the practical function for which you were made. Your life is productive and meaningful because your daily lifestyle is consistent with your positive core values. Your personal integrity permeates every area of your life and motivates behavior that enriches your life as well as the lives of everyone around you. Your human relationships tend to be satisfying and long-term in duration.  

So, what is your IQ—your personal Integrity Quotient? Hopefully, your IQ falls within a positive range and is growing on a daily basis. I compliment you for your commitment to integrity improvement, and I wish you the best as you continue your journey through life on the Integrity Highway.
 

 


                                                                 (Miscellaneous Topics #1507)
  
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**Integrity Assessment:  You can use the following Integrity Inventory to estimate your current personal integrity level and for developing an Integrity Growth Plan.    


                                                         MEASURING PERSONAL INTEGRITY

         
Name: _________________________  
Date of Assessment: ______________  


Traits for Personal Integrity                                                                                                            Degree of Development
1. I have identified my personal core values for my life.                                                  0      1     2     3     4     5    6     7     8     9     10
                                                                                                                                            Low             Moderate           High
2. These core values are based in absolute truth.                                                          0      1     2     3     4     5    6     7     8     9     10
                                                                                                                                            Low             Moderate           High
3. I am personally committed to these core values.                                                         0     1     2     3     4     5    6     7     8     9     10
                                                                                                                                            Low             Moderate           High
4. I have established personal goals that will help me live out these core values.             0     1     2     3     4     5    6     7     8     9     10
                                                                                                                                            Low             Moderate           High
5. My public behavior is consistent with my private behavior.                                           0     1     2     3     4     5    6     7     8     9     10
                                                                                                                                            Low             Moderate           High
6. My conscience is clear in regard to my values and actions.                                          0     1     2     3     4     5    6     7     8     9     10
                                                                                                                                            Low             Moderate           High
7.  I correct myself when I make mistakes and make amends appropriately.                      0    1     2     3     4     5    6     7     8     9     10
                                                                                                                                            Low             Moderate           High
8. I currently possess the qualities of truthfulness and trustworthiness.                             0     1     2     3     4     5    6     7     8     9     10
                                                                                                                                            Low             Moderate           High
9.  I am able to resist external pressures to violate my core values.                                  0      1     2     3     4     5    6     7     8     9     10
                                                                                                                                            Low             Moderate           High
10.   I am experiencing daily growth in my personal integrity.                                             0      1     2     3     4     5    6     7     8     9     10
                                                                                                                                            Low             Moderate           High

Instructions:  Add together the numbers you circled.

The sum will indicate your current level of personal integrity (low, moderate, or high).             Total Score of Circled Responses:  _______
                                                                                                                                           (0-33 = Low;  34-67 = Moderate;  68-100 = High)
                                                                                                                                             My personal Integrity Quotient (IQ): _____




                                                                         (Copyrighted by Dr. Bill Baker -- May, 2015)


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Video:  To see a television interview in which Dr. Baker discusses “Reclaiming Personal Integrity” please click on the image to the right or click here.






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             

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