Shabby and Off

Earlier today I wrote about justifications and how we use them to excuse behaviours which are shabby and off. What constitutes shabby or off behaviour? I guess that is to an extent in the eye of the beholder. But I also reckon we all know when we are doing something a little shabby and off. We might Facebook stalk someone we know, an ex or a “friend”, perhaps. This is shabby and off, but somehow, we simply cannot resist. We might think “everybody is doing it”, so it is OK and normal. We do not have very high personal standards if this kind of “I was only following orders” excuse suffices.

Waving your cock at an actress is now seen as shabby and off, the social definition of shabby and off is time variable.

Unless we are very far gone, there is always a faint hint of being ashamed, if we do something shabby and off. Maybe our toes might curl with embarrassment at the idea of being found out. And so, we might hide and get a bit more furtive about our peccadilloes. They may then grow in the darkness. The problem is that once one drops standards and behaves in a shabby fashion, it is easier the next time. We might lack courage to do something right and so we shirk. Maybe we feel a little upset. Next time it is easier. Behaving in a shabby and off manner becomes habitual. Before long we have low standards. Soon we accept shabby and off behaviours both in ourselves, our colleagues and others. Moral standards nose dive.

The only antidote to this is to try to garner a sense of integrity, impeccability even. If we have lost our backbone, maybe we need to find it again. Although compromise can be a good thing, it can often be bad, a slippery slope even.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever done anything shabby and off?

How did it make me feel?

Did it lift my spirits or make my heart sink?

Maybe I need to review the standards by which I live?

Integrity Quotes

Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Larry Hagman

Subtlety may deceive you; integrity never will.
Oliver Cromwell

The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.
Douglas Adams

If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
Gordon A. Eadie

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.
Douglas Adams

If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.
Marcus Aurelius

A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.
Baltasar Gracian

With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.
Zig Ziglar

No man knows the value of innocence and integrity but he who has lost them.
William Godwin

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
Samuel Johnson

To me, integrity means always doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences. It means being righteous from the very depth of our soul, not only in our actions but, more importantly, in our thoughts and in our hearts.
Joseph B. Wirthlin

Necessity may well be called the mother of invention, but calamity is the test of integrity.
Samuel Richardson

If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference.
R. Buckminster Fuller

Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up.
Donald Rumsfeld

Integrity has no need of rules.
Albert Camus

Integrity reveals beauty.
Thomas Leonard

The Concept of Integrity

For a number of years, I was involved in various team development activities primarily with Ph.D. students. In these about eight students are put together in a facilitated group and “tortured” over a period of 3-5 days in order to help them develop. The “torture” requires risk and it was not uncommon for people to have a hissy fit or a control drama, during the experience. I facilitated about half a dozen of these groups. I even designed and directed ~6 larger courses under the auspices of the UK GRAD programme. I know a bit about group dynamics. As a consequence, I am interested in this kind of thing, as is the wife. So, we watched the “SAS Who Dares Wins” programme last night in which a bunch of would be macho men are put through their paces. The testing they endure is way more severe, yet thematically linked. Many of the same “issues” surface. Just to be clear I have never had any military training in this lifetime other than when I went along to ~3 sessions at the Royal Marines Reserves. I had put myself up as an officer cadet and because of family connections and my educational background I was accepted as a starter. I quite fancied abseiling down cliffs and using speed boats. At the time I was a Ph.D. student and more interested in the waccy-baccy and Tennent’s Extra, so I left after three sessions. It wasn’t for me after all.

What surfaced in last night’s episode was the concept of integrity. One recruit was flamboyant and a bit of a show man, making pals with everyone. The staff called him in hooded to understand him better. He revealed that he had been in trouble with the law. Something was off and so the staff dug deeper. In his online footprint they found a CV in which he claimed he had served three years in the elite Paratroop Regiment. Now this could have explained his success so far or could have been fantasy. In either case he had somehow completely forgotten to mention it. They called him in again. They pressed, and it turns out he had done about twelve weeks training and then quit. To say that the staff were displeased by his behaviour is to understate. He had, in their eyes, showed a fundamental lack of integrity. They tore him off a strip and he skulked back to his fellows. The next day he quit. He had gotten himself into a mess. If he had said at the outset, I tried it once, fucked up and would like another chance, all would have been dandy. That would have been integrity. You probably would not want to be in a fire-fight with someone of dubious integrity.

This concept of integrity is perhaps a moveable feast. Often, we see people in public life falling short and it speaks volumes that there has to be a kind of watchdog to police this for our politicians. Many of whom in the past have stretched expense claims and the like, way past the elastic limit. So many people are tempted to try to pull “a fast one”. One could say that this is cunning, but does it show integrity? It depends upon what you view as acceptable behaviour and how you yourself are oriented. It is for each individual to decide what is their own personal integrity. Apart from when integrity brings you into conflict with the corrupt, in the long-term integrity causes less problems. There is no concern about being found out and the tendency for mess-generation is reduced. It is comforting to know that one works with people of integrity, because you have your back covered and you don’t need to clean up after them. It is easier to trust people of high integrity than the cunning.

Having cued this up:

What do I think about this concept of integrity?

Is it important to me as an individual?

Have I ever been asked to lower my own personal integrity?

How did that make me feel?