There are many principles that govern human life and happiness. One of the more powerful ones is the idea of integrity. Integrity, as I’ve written many a time, comes from the word integer – which means whole.

In our lives, we see integrity when we see people make and keep commitments or, put another way, when they live by what they say. When you walk what you talk and talk what you walk, you are truly whole. And, this wholeness is the foundation of building trust because trust involves consistently keeping promises that you make in public. It is at the root of self confidence because self confidence comes from self trust. And, it is at the foundation of every good relationship.

As Clay Christensen might say, there is no such thing as 99% integrity. You are either fully in or not in at all. Or, viewed differently, if you want to live a life of integrity, there is no space for pseudo commitments. Either you are in, or you are not. This is particularly hard when we are almost encouraged to say things we don’t mean to be socially amicable – “let’s catch up for coffee sometime” or “I’d love to do that sometime.”

Every pseudo commitment eats away at our integrity. The less we believe our own words, the less we trust them. The less we trust them, the less self confidence we have. It is hard to never say yes when you mean to say a no. It is hard to make commitments. It is harder to keep the commitments we make.

But, then again, nothing that is powerful comes easy.