• Published
  • By Capt. Jayson Cabell
  • 62d Comptroller Squadron
The word "integrity" has many definitions. Sure, it's the first of our Air Force core values, but it's how we define this word personally that makes a difference in our daily lives. In case this is something that you've never considered, I will explain how integrity can be compared to a bucket of water. With this simple analogy, we can better identify the impact our decisions have on the way people perceive us as an individual.

Let's imagine that everyone carries a pail of water with them everywhere they go. Everyone starts with water filled to the top and all of the people we meet can see our bucket just like we can see theirs. As we go about our lives, every decision we make has the potential to throw water out of our bucket. Let's say that your judgment is questioned because of a bad choice you made. It can be as simple as telling a little white lie or it could be as serious as committing a crime, either way, this bump in the road has caused some water to spill out of your bucket. All of a sudden, when people see you, your bucket isn't as full as the last time they saw you. It won't take long for people to start noticing and they will adjust the way they interact with you. You have just injured your reputation and that is hard to overcome. In fact, the worst part of damaging your integrity is that once water is splashed out of your bucket, you can't refill it! That water is gone forever. The more times this happens, water drains from your pail and it is a finite supply. We simply can't afford to put ourselves in these situations because after a while our bucket will wind up empty.

We all should want our bucket just as full tomorrow as it is today. Once we lose faith in ourselves and start to make decisions that hurt our integrity, it doesn't take long before others lose faith in us, as well. We didn't become the world's dominant Air Force through mistrust and deceit; we built our heritage on integrity. It's not always going to be the easy thing to do, but we have to maintain our integrity because so many people are counting on us to do the right thing!