Lack of Discernment Causes Lack of Integrity

by Dr. David Gruder

Football great LaDanian Tomlinson’s knee injury kept him from playing for most of this past Sunday’s Chargers-Patriots NFL playoff football game. Everyone who follows NFL football knows that Tomlinson is one of the key players for the Chargers and that had he been healthy enough to play (even at less than 100%) it would have been much more likely that the San Diego Chargers could have defeated the New England Patriots. What many people do not know is the lack of integrity that surrounds this story.

The disturbing part of this story is not about who won or lost but about what some media sports analysts (and fans) said about Tomlinson not playing, including football commentator Deion Sanders. Tomlinson was accused by various folks as being soft, of not stepping up when he was most needed, even of being childish.

It seems that these people decided they were in a position to determine the severity was of Tomlinson’s knee injury from the previous week’s playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, not to mention the extent of his capacity to play this past Sunday. This arrogance is a great example of lack of integrity brought about by discernment deficits.

Think about it: Would Tomlinson actually refuse to play if his knee was capable of helping him help his team win? Would his offensive line protect, support and help him be one of the great running backs in football history if they believed he was that selfish a player? Bear in mind that a football running back with a knee injury is just as damaging to his ability to perform as a shoulder injury in a quarterback’s throwing arm is to his ability to perform. Were those who criticized Tomlinson for not playing being discerning about these considerations? I sincerely doubt it. Again, their arrogance is a great example of lack of integrity brought about by deficits in their Discernment WisePassion.

Tomlinson is one of the people I cite as exemplifying 3D Integrity in my book, The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World. I suspect that he was telling the truth when he indicated that his injury had damaged his mobility to the point where he could best serve the collective highest good of his team by not indulging his own desire to play in the game. I suspect he was telling the truth when he said that his backups were physically more capable of contributing to his team’s highest good than he was.

When people are criticized for living at the intersection of what serves collective highest good and what serves their own wellbeing, this is an anti-integrity stance. When people are criticized for refusing to indulge their own self-centered desires (in this case to play in the game) because doing so would harm collective highest good (in this case their team), this is an anti-integrity stance.

To me, this is yet another example of how little understanding exists about what integrity really is. I wrote The New IQ to help turn this around.

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  • traceylott
    January 24, 2008

    Dr. Gruder,

    Why do you think that people think they need to make sacrifices to do good?  Is this because not enough people understand what integrity is all about?


    • David
      January 24, 2008

      Dear Mary,

      Thank you for your wonderful question.

      I think that those who believe they need to make sacrifices to do good have not yet discovered how integrity creates fulfillment rather than forcing us to give something up that is precious.

      Once we understand that we are a 3D Self, this limiting belief about doing good vanishes. One-third of a full 3D Self is about authentic self-expression, one-third is about connection with others and one-third is about having positive impact in the world. These three aspects of our 3D Self reflect our Three Core Drives (authenticity, connection and impact.)

      You’re quite right when you point out that the belief that we must make sacrifices to do good reflects a misunderstanding of what integrity is about. Being our authentic self is necessary in order for us to feel whole and fulfilled. Feeling connected with others is also necessary for us to feel this way. As well, serving collective highest good (an expression of our drive to have positive impact in the world) is equally necessary for us to feel whole and fulfilled.

      3D Integrity means living life at the intersection of me, we and us all. It means embodying the wisdom that what is truly good for the universe is good for me and what is truly good for me is good for the universe. So, when we do good, we are actually serving ourselves. The only thing that someone who honors all three of their core drives in a balanced and integrated way might be sacrificing when they are doing good is their ego’s extremely limited version of "self." (However, when we chronically express our Impact core drive at the expense of also attending to our other two core drives, then it is indeed true that doing good is likely to feel like a sacrifice, because we are not wired to live that way.)

      For more about your Three Core Drives, your 3D Self and 3D Integrity, read my new book, The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World and use its accompanying volume, The New IQ Integrity Makeover Workbook, to bring into your life what you read in the book.

    • Jamie
      February 28, 2008

      This is a terrific question. I believe there is a misconception, by alot of individuals, about co-creating choices for yourself. Sacrificing (compromising) you, your time, your life energy to "do good" serves who? You? Your relationships? Your higher power? When someone lives 3D integrity there is no need to make sacrifices. You can make authentic healthy, choices that serve your three core drives..your authentic self, your relationships and the world you live in. There is such a transformation when this concept is put into living your 3D integrity life. Having an Integrity Makeover, reading Dr. Gruder’s book, The New IQ and being facilitated as you use his accompanying workbook are sure ways to improve and understand this concept better.

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