…TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT” -MLK Jr.
To have: passion for what is right, focus for what is true, respect for what is honest, teamwork for what is reliable, and ownership of what is honorable, is to construct the formula for integrity. For integrity, in a sense, is a towering tree. It is deeply rooted in a person’s needs and beliefs. Its branches sprout as the above values, when their natural forms stretch toward uprightness. Yet unlike the values that make it, having integrity is a constant challenge, it is not easy. That is why it takes time to grow as a fully-fledged tree, to risk proving others wrong by one’s rights. Since in a community, a leader is only as venerable as the actions leading to her success. Each step, so crucial for accomplishment, does not count in the end unless done with truth. Integrity ultimately represents social growth as the silver standard, and has nurtured a forest of worth in my own life.
To have integrity is to have power, yet with selflessness. Martin Luther King Jr. captures my belief, “I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.” Throughout my experiences in athletics, opportunities arose to influence and guide peers. Every time, there is the choice on which direction to go. Could I relish in the negative example, boasting my talents and letting others sit in the shadows? My times in the gym shout that true victories are not achieved alone, and are the result of taking the path less traveled. If I embrace an arrogant or disobedient attitude, I in turn block the progress of my teammates. What triumph is found in cheating, bragging, or belittling? That is only insecurity and taking the comfortable route. As a captain for my volleyball and basketball teams, I realized the need to not only be a leader in statistics, but a model for sportsmanship. Teamwork became my own sense of integrity. Together the players had to make open decisions, form trust on and off the court, plus throw away mistakes and losses with maturity. When playing with integrity, we are satisfied with our earned strength and do not foolishly search for more.
I will apply a similar concept around my coworkers and family- to never put the material success of a task above their character and skill development as people. Personally, I am ready to attend a university, and to tackle its coursework and lifestyle. I hope to study environmental science, so that by understanding the Earth I may restore nature’s perfect integrity in mankind’s eyes. To reach this goal I must have respect, passion, and focus of others through my integrity. It will be more difficult than easy, but as Freya Starks says, “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.” I will continue to grow my tree of integrity, to bear the fruit of ethical and beautiful dreams.