The Importance of Integrity

“You cannot dream yourself into character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” – James A. Froude

Actions speak louder than words.” “Don’t just say it, do it.” “I’ll believe it when I see it.” We’ve all heard at least one of these phrases throughout our lives. There are many ways to express this sentiment, but each of these phrases refers to integrity. Historian James A. Froude was referring to integrity when he said, “You cannot dream yourself into character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary tells us that the definition of integrity is­ “the quality of being honest or fair.” Sure, we can all agree that this sounds like a good idea, but it’s undeniably difficult to achieve. Integrity requires telling the truth, having sound moral principles, doing what’s right and being honorable. Integrity is like a moral compass: It is a guiding standard what is right and wrong.

The Mizzou Football Family likes to talk about revolving integrity. This means that no matter what situation you find yourself in, whether on the field, in the locker room, on campus or at the grocery store, you have the same sense of integrity. To remind yourself of how to live with revolving integrity, remind yourself of these things:

  • You are no different with your teammates and coaches than you are in the evening with your friends.
  • You are no different in class with your professors and classmates than you are at home with your family.
  • You are no different when the situation is difficult than when the situation is easy.
  • Your character doesn’t melt when you are on the line.


About the quote:

James A. Froude was a 19th century English historian and writer. He is most widely known for his book, History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada. Froude was strongly inspired by Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish philosopher and wrote The Life of Carlyle, a lengthy and controversial biography.