COMMENTARY 866.5: Testing Your Integrity

by Michael Josephson on February 13, 2014

in Commentaries, The Nature of Character

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In the past year, did you keep the money if a cashier gave you too much change? Did you lie to your boss, a customer, or a significant other? Did you use the Internet for personal reasons at work? Did you distort or conceal facts on a resumé or in a job interview? Did you inflate an expense or insurance claim? Did you make unauthorized copies of software or music?

Have you ever lied about your child’s age to save money or provided your youngster with a false excuse for missing school? If it was the only way to get your child into a better school, would you lie about your address?

We’ve posted an integrity assessment here so you can see how you measure up with respect to questions like these.

A  lack of integrity in any of the everyday matters above may be just a moral misdemeanor compared to the felonious sorts of fraud and corruption that have shredded the economic foundation of our country. Nonetheless, they demonstrate an unwillingness to walk the talk when it comes to honesty.

Most of us stray from our highest ethical ambitions from time to time, but we do so selectively, convincing ourselves that we’re justified and that occasional departures from ethical principles are inconsequential when it comes to our character.

Most of us judge ourselves by our best actions and intentions, but children who watch everything we do may be learning from our worst.

No one expects you to be perfect, but you might find it informative to take the test and see if you stray from the straight and narrow path of your own ideals too far or too often.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Leighty February 14, 2014 at 10:57 am

I teach an ethics course for school leaders at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Our graduate students come from many different walks of life and 90% of them will become leaders in public schools. We dedicate many hours in our course exploring the impact of personal ethics in decision making and leadership. Your survey is better than the one I currently use and is a great lead-in to very rich discussions.

I will require my students to take the survey this summer in the course.
Thank you.

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Dustin Pour February 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Dear. Mr. Josephson.
In a nutshell, things are getting worst each & everyday & the society is responsible for bringing people to this level. I understand each one of us make choices in life, but when mixed with one’s atmosphere, it changes the whole dynamics and people make bad choices. For most, that’s the only choice they are left with.

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