Integrity and Enthusiastic Anatagonism


“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”― Frederick Douglass


  1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
  2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished:

I was born and raised in BROOKLYN, NY and I am proud of it! A reputation that seems to follow New Yorkers, especially Brooklyn, New Yorkers, is that we can be gruff and abrupt and somewhat antagonistic. When I was in Australia a friend said, “You know why New Yorkers and Aussies get along so well, it’s because we are both in enthusiastic antagonism.”


So why am I talking about enthusiastic antagonism in an article on integrity. I love the game of being enthusiastically antagonistic – the intention is never to make someone wrong or make less of them, it is a style of humor that reflects who I am. There are times in our lives that test our integrity, where we are tested to be true to  ourself and our beliefs.

An Irish Tale

One of the reasons I love the Irish, is their enthusiastic antagonism attitude. When I was in Dublin I felt very much at home. Here is an example of Irish enthusiastic antagonism, Seamus was getting irrate and shouted upstairs to his wife, “Hurry up or we’ll be late.”

“Oh, be quiet,” replied his wife. “Haven’t I been telling you for the last hour that I’ll be ready in a minute?”

I can relate to this one!

Brooklyn Boys

Us Brooklyn boys are also known for our repartee (conversation or speech characterized by quick, witty comments or replies). A master of this was Winston Churchill who has many quotes attributed to him that definitely reflect enthusiastic antagonism. For example, “A lady came up to me one day and said ‘Sir! You are drunk’, to which I replied ‘I am drunk today madam, and tomorrow I shall be sober, but you will still be ugly.”   A well deserved, enthusiastic and antagonistic response.

The Integrity Test

There have been times in my life when my integrity has been tested; where I knew I had to be true to myself. One anecdote immediately comes to mind from my time as a teacher.

I was asked to referee basketball games for a league of 5th graders from schools in our district (that’s me with my hands on my hips). My school was undefeated and we played the championship game in our school gym. I was the referee. It was a very close game, and my school team was losing by a point with seconds left in the game. We stole the ball from the other team, and our star player, John, started dribbling toward his basket, the students from our school were screaming with anticipation – we still had a chance to win.
As I ran down the court following the play the time keeper yelled over to me, time had run out, the game was over. I started to blow my whistle but the cheering from our students was so loud, no one could hear the whistle. At that moment I was hoping, no praying, John would not make a miraculous play and score, because I would have to be the one to say it was scored too late – and I knew what the reaction from the crowd would be.

Sure enough John made a miraculous shot, and after I was able to get the crowd noise lowered, I had a choice to make. There were only two people who knew time had run out, me and the time keeper (who left the gym immediately after John scored – he did not want to face the wrath of the students). I knew how happy our school would have been, and what it would do to the morale of our students if we had won. But I never hesitated, I did not want to incur my own abhorrence.

I blew my whistle and announced the basket was disallowed, as time had run out. You can imagine how popular I was at that moment.

I am sure we all have moments where our integrity has been tested, For me, some of the proudest decisions and moments in my life were when I kept my integrity, even when it would have been ‘easier’ to do what I knew was not right, I had to be true to myself.

Your Right Career

In my work consulting with people across the globe, I have come across so many unhappy individuals who compromised their integrity when making a decision about the career and educational path they chose to follow. So often they follow the advice of others, or lose sight of what is really important to them, and make the wrong choice.

The Brilliance Program helps you find the educational/career path that is right for you, helping you maintain your integrity.

For more information go to or call me at 323-804-5113.

If you need the help but don’t get it, that is stupid!  (How’s that for an enthusiastic antagonistic comment?)

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