When a bunch of hip hop artistes made a single, entitled ‘It’s All About the Benjamins‘ in 1997, little did they know it would make it to #1 on the Hot 100 Airplay Chart and its video win a Viewers’ Choice Awards at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards show. At first glance, one would wonder what they meant by that. Listening to the music and having a look at America’s $100 bill, which is the largest form of currency in circulation and which has the picture of one of America’s Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, one would realise the intent of the music.
During that period (and unfortunately now), a lot of people had the mindset that money was everything. They believed that the moment they struck gold, and have a fat bank account, they would be fulfilled and truly be considered successful in life. Nothing could be further from the truth. The big question is “What is the currency of life?” The answer is INTEGRITY.
It was Henry David Thoreau that said “ The universe seems bankrupt as soon as we begin to discuss the characters of individuals.” This is obviously as a result of the fact that the character of the natural man is so defective and fundamentally flawed and therefore, cannot be trusted.
It is rather unfortunate and sad to say that we live in a world where integrity, which is synonymous with good and impeccable character, is fast becoming old fashioned.
Integrity is being straight, devoid of crookedness. It is “being the same a thousand miles from home.”-Billy Graham. It is about credibility which is the quality of being generally accepted and trusted. The big question is, “Can people express confidence in you?” Are you the same when you are in the company of those who don’t even know you? Do you have integrity? Does your walk agree with your talk?
Integrity is very important if you must succeed as a man, woman, leader, entrepreneur, employee, student, etc. Consider the words of Cheryl Biehl: “One of the realities of life is that if you can’t trust a person at all points, you can’t truly trust them at any point.”
There are no short cuts to having integrity; it’s either you have it or you don’t. If you are able to conceal your lack of integrity for a period of time, know that you will eventually experience failure and whatever influence you have temporarily gained will definitely disappear.
Integrity is not determined by the weight of someone’s credentials but by the strength of their character. Thomas Jefferson knew what he was saying when he stated: “In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.” Is there anything you stand for? Be assured that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll certainly fall for anything.
In your quest to succeed in life and fulfil your God-given destiny, don’t neglect Integrity. Make him your best friend. Always mean what you say and say what you mean. Imagine a world where all the citizens have integrity. Of course it will be a blissful place to live in.
There is no doubt that challenges will come as you strive to become a person of integrity. Some people will hate and vilify you. But it does not matter as long as you please God.
“Integrity is the hinge that swings open the golden door of prosperity,” so says a sage. After everything has failed, your integrity will always be there for you. It will take you to where your money can’t take you to. It will open doors of opportunities for you and your children. A man often times never knows the importance of a good name until he has lost one. There are some people who have passed away, but the mention of their names opens doors of opportunities to those who use them. A good name is much better than all the wealth of this world.
Now is the time for you to awake and rise from the quagmire of insincerity, deception and lies. Don’t you think that you’ve gone too far and you can never become a person of integrity. I crossed the line at some point but had to retrace my steps. Within you lies the power to live right. You are stronger than you think. Do remember to always stand tall.
In conclusion, I present to you the words of Maxwell and Dornan, “The road of integrity may not be the easiest one, but it’s the only one that will get you where you ultimately want to go.”