Integrity is the first step to true greatness – men love to praise, but are slow to practice it. To maintain it in high places costs self-denial; in all places it is liable to opposition, but its end is glorious, and the universe will yet do it homage. – C. Simmons

Integrity. The concept that you will do what is right, not what is easy. For all the people who read this that are current/previous serving members of an armed forces, I would place a bet that the concept of integrity was lectured on at least briefly during your basic training. Yet even you, who have received instruction on its importance and worth, how many of you fail to hold yourselves to that standard?

As for those who have never received instruction on its importance, or those who have let their virtue shrivel, attend. 

Living a life of integrity is not only a show of your character, but a public declaration of your resolve, and self-discipline. It says to others that you are trust worthy in the extreme. You are someone who acts with honour, and if you have a willingness to accept responsibility for your own actions when it comes to minor things, you demonstrate you can be trusted to take responsibility for the big ones

You show that you have a mindset of a true man, one who would not throw others under the bus for personal gain, nor one to add to the workload of others by your own lack of ethics and standards. 

If you cannot live with integrity, how could you ever consider yourself a man? Let alone be considered one by others? How can someone who bends so easily to outside influence be trusted? How can a man who would take the easy way out, given half a chance, ever be trusted to have your back? Could a man who would blame others for his own faults, and shirk minor responsibility be one who would come to your aid in times of trial and tribulation?

Living with integrity is hard. But it is a difficulty that MUST be borne by any would be greeted by others as a man. If living a life of honour, moral courage, and integrity is too much, then life is too good for you. The precious gift you receive every time you draw breathe is an insult to those who would sacrifice themselves in a heartbeat for another. And this doesn’t mean a literal dying for someone else situation (though, that is also relevant). We are talking about someone who would sacrifice over and over again, taking the blame, doing the extra work, going that extra mile. Your existence spits on that, and precludes you from ever joining any brotherhood. Your genitals may say “man”, but if you cannot live with integrity, that is a title you cannot call your own.  How could one such as you gaze upon your own reflection in a mirror, knowing that the image presented is one of a base thing, full only of treachery, and spiteful thinking? 

To those of you who sacrifice what they must, in order to live life as men, I salute you. The world needs more of you. To those who don’t, a warning. Life is harsh, and hubris always comes around. There will come a time when life will kick the hell out of you, and if you are known to be one who lives without integrity, life will not be the only thing coming for you.

Be a goddam man, and live with integrity.