The quote “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching” by C.S. Lewis encapsulates a fundamental principle of moral character and ethics.
It emphasizes that true integrity is not dependent on external oversight or the fear of consequences, but rather on an individual’s inner sense of right and wrong.
Doing the Right Thing:
- Integrity involves consistently choosing morally upright actions and decisions.
- It’s not about what is convenient, expedient, or popular, but about what is morally and ethically correct.
- Example: Mahatma Gandhi’s commitment to non-violence and civil disobedience, even when facing severe oppression during the Indian independence struggle, exemplifies this aspect of integrity.
Even When No One Is Watching:
- Integrity is not about adhering to ethical standards only when there is external scrutiny or potential rewards or punishments.
- True integrity means maintaining one’s principles regardless of whether there are witnesses or accountability.
- Example: The honesty displayed by a government official who refuses to accept bribes, even in the absence of surveillance, demonstrates this concept of integrity.
- Integrity is an intrinsic quality, a reflection of personal values and principles.
- It’s about doing what one believes is right because it aligns with their sense of morality, not because of fear of external judgment or punishment.
- Example: Mother Teresa’s unwavering dedication to helping the destitute and vulnerable, guided solely by her inner convictions, illustrates this facet of integrity.
- When a person consistently acts with integrity, they become trustworthy.
- Others can rely on them, knowing that their actions are guided by a strong moral compass, regardless of the circumstances.
- Example: Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s integrity as a scientist and leader garnered trust not only in India but globally, as he was known for his honesty and commitment to ethics in the field of technology and governance.
- This quote encourages individuals to build a strong and principled character.
- It reminds us that our actions, even when no one is observing, contribute to shaping our character and defining who we are.
- Example: Swami Vivekananda’s unswerving dedication to his spiritual and social ideals, irrespective of public recognition, illustrates how personal character is developed through such unwavering commitment.
This quote emphasizes the significance of inner moral strength and unwavering commitment to ethical principles.
It urges us to uphold integrity not for recognition but because it’s the right thing to do.
True integrity reveals itself when tested without external supervision, defining virtuous character and ethical behavior. In the Indian context, it resonates deeply with the lives and actions of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and Swami
Vivekananda, who exemplify the timeless value of doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.