Executive Doodle – Issue 1, 2022
The word ‘integrity’ has quite a few synonyms in the dictionary; however, one thing is for sure that all of them have highly respectable meanings. In essence, integrity defines the uprightness, truthfulness and honor in a person and if viewed for a nation, describes how they are viewed collectively by other nations.
The reason for choosing integrity for discussion, in this issue, is to see how we, as a nation, are viewed by others. I would like to take this further and make a collective assertion for nations with similar demographics, economic and socio-political realities and how they have quite comparable levels of integrity. We all know that we are not very high on the list as a country that displays truth and honesty, yet on a personal level, this may differ significantly.
Having lived in the West for some years, I can say without exception that I found that society at a much higher level of honesty then what we see in Pakistan. It always made me wonder, as to why is this the case, as a much larger percentage of Pakistanis are practicing religion in comparison to the West where I saw a lot less people following and practicing any religion. You are most likely to find atheists and agnostics in the West than anywhere else in the world. Despite this, you see a high level of integrity in their behavior, where they are much fairer in their personal and business dealings that I see being practiced in our country. Why is that?
Though we can endlessly debate the reasons for an honest versus a dishonest behavior, starting from our upbringing to our fear of the lord to self-accountability, which may all be true in parts, yet, the most important reason in my opinion is how a society responds to certain behaviors displayed by children and adults. In the formative years of a child or children of a nation, if they observe others being honest and truthful, including elders in their own family, they act the same way. On the other hand, if they see dishonesty and lies in their environment, they consider those as acceptable and a norm in society. I’m sure our society was a lot more honest and truthful 75 years ago, but over time we have not given enough attention to this and it has deteriorated substantially to the point that we don’t find much wrong in giving and receiving bribes, show honesty in our dealings and don’t consider it wrong to fool someone under the garb of intelligence.
No matter how rich or powerful we become, eventually we need to have respect for people, the law and equality of rights for everyone. If we don’t then there isn’t much difference in the animal kingdom where the strong prevails over the weak with nowhere to go. The real test of a human is when they are in a position of authority and strength and yet show humility, respect, compassion, and care towards others; more so towards those who are weak and less fortunate. Any society that has integrity and displays this trait automatically raises itself towards development and prosperity.
We will continue this discussion in the future, however, I leave you with a thought to observe your own behavior and see if we see integrity or the lack of it thereof in our day-to-day dealings. It will help in self-reflection and change for the better.