How would you define character and integrity?
I would define character as a collection of moral and ethical traits or qualities that define or guide how we live our lives.
Integrity is the ethical accuracy of our actions by adhering to a moral code of conduct.
One of the all-time winningest college basketball coaches, and someone I admired when I was growing up, was John Wooden of UCLA.
Coach Wooden had a quote that went like this:
"A careful person I want to be,
A little person follows me.
I dare not go astray,
For fear, they may go the same way."
Who is observing how you are conducting your life? Who would give almost everything they possess to trade places with you for just five minutes?
The following true story, which was written by Hamilton Lindley on February 22, 2021, and published in Thrive Global, illustrates what integrity and character look like.
World War II revealed many heroes. One was a naval aviator named Butch O’Hare. His hero story started after he was airborne with the rest of his squadron. Butch looked at his fuel gauge and, to his surprise, saw that the groundcrew had not refilled Butch’s fuel tank. So Butch would not have enough fuel to complete the mission and return to the aircraft carrier. Butch’s commander ordered Burch to return to the ship immediately. He did so grudgingly. As Butch returned, he saw a sight that turned his blood cold. An enemy squadron was racing toward the American ships. With the entire division on a mission, it left the whole American fleet defenseless. Butch had no chance to bring back his squadron, and he couldn’t warn the fleet of impending peril.
So Butch decided there was only one thing he could do — divert the enemy from the fleet. Ignoring his safety, he plunged into the Japanese formation, firing his guns as he stunned enemy planes. The Japanese airplanes fired on him from all angles with their fierce machine guns and cannons. Butch just kept moving. After his wing guns emptied all their ammunition, Butch dove his plane towards the enemy aircraft, attempting to clip an enemy wing and send them down in a spiral. Ultimately, the stunned Japanese squadron changed direction.
Butch O’Hare returned to the carrier. Once he landed, Butch told of his adventure. And the film from Butch’s gun camera showed the tale. Butch shot down five Japanese aircraft. Butch was the Navy’s first flying ace of World War II. He was the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Butch was killed a year later, at age 29.
Butch’s hometown was proud of his name, and today O’Hare International Airport in Chicago is named for this American hero.
Someone is always watching how you live your life.
Never give them a reason to question your character or integrity.
Please leave me a comment about the importance of character and integrity in your life.
Author & Motivational Speaker
Terry is a sought after speaker who believes in the power of a story to motivate, inspire, and help others lead their uncommon and extraordinary lives. By combining his eleven-year cancer journey with his diverse business, athletic coaching, and hostage negotiating expertise, he delivers compelling yet relatable presentations for conferences, on-line events, panels, meetings, and seminars.