Integrity is also doing the right thing when everyone is watching

George Clooney, Michael Clayton and integrity
Closing scene from “Michael Clayton”

Today I’ve been thinking about my children and what I want them to ultimately remember me for. I know they know I love them, and what else? Well, our children learn from us not only in what we say but what we do, so I hope they have learned from me just how critical it is to be of integrity.

Now, what is integrity? Two weeks ago, in the post “Be of Integrity” I referenced the saying: “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching”. Yes, and, integrity is also doing the right thing when everyone is watching as illustrated by this quote from my post yesterday: “Time for white people in the UK to talk about racism“:

Integrity is what you do when no one is watching; it’s doing the right thing all the time, even when it may work to your disadvantage. Integrity is keeping your word. Integrity is that internal compass and rudder that directs you to where you know you should go when everything around you is pulling you in a different direction. Some people think reputation is the same thing as integrity, but they are two different things.

Tony Dungy

Politics and public leadership in these times is low on integrity, low on humility, accountability, apologies and high on blaming others, avoiding responsibility.

Heck, this Sunday morning I’m low on words to say on this, so instead I’ll simply reference a past post from my themed series that, over time, featured over 60 movies, this one entitled : Movies with Meaning – Say Anything.

The theme of this particular movie post, written in March 2018, is of saying what needs to be said, even when that puts us at personal risk of reputation and more. The movies chosen to feature with clips are: Say Anything, Scent of a Woman, and Michael Clayton. Michael Clayton is a movie about the titular character, played by George Clooney, who “has a choice in the end of whether or not to act from his truth, with integrity.” Words to ponder in these times and always.

It is one of my very favourite movies, with also one of the very best closing scenes. I’d love to share a clip of that scene again, but it is now blocked online for copyright reasons, so I do highly recommend watching the whole movie, which, of course, gives the closing scene more resonance.

Be of integrity when nobody is watching, and also when everybody is watching. Always.


Also published on Medium.