Doing The Right Thing When No One Is Looking: 17 Integrity Tips (2024)

Welcome to my guide on doing the right thing when no-one is looking.

Doing The Right Thing When No One Is Looking
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Below, you’ll discover how to find the mental strength to make moral and virtuous moves even when nobody is watching you.  

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients find the right mindset to improve themselves, so they can live the lives of their dreams.

That’s why I’m keen to share this blog post with you. 

So, let’s dive in.   

Doing The Right Thing When No One Is Looking Meaning

This idea means to make the noble move, even when there aren’t people watching you. 

What Is It Called When You Do The Right Thing When Nobody Is Looking?

Many people use the concept of doing the right thing when nobody’s looking to define integrity. 

Who Said Do The Right Thing Even When No One Is Looking?

Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching” is a quote attributed to British author C.S Lewis.

Also, American author Aldo Leopold once said: “Ethical behaviour is doing the right thing when no one else is watching—even when doing the wrong thing is legal.”

Doing The Right Thing When No One Is Looking Examples

  • Picking up litter even though no-one saw you drop it. 
  • Working out and eating healthy without anyone to hold you accountable. 
  • Engaging in deep work even when your boss and colleagues aren’t around. 
  • Handing in a lost wallet to the police even though no-one would know if you kept it. 
  • Staying faithful to your partner in a brand new city where no-one knows you.

Doing The Right Thing When No-One Is Looking: 17 Integrity Tips

1. Pleasure Is Temporary, Fulfilment Is Permanent.

I’m not going to pretend that doing the right thing is always easy.

Sometimes, there’s an immediate reward from doing the wrong thing – and if no-one is watching, there are seemingly no negative consequences.

It can be so tempting to cave in and take the instant gratification from stealing money or cheating on your wife.

However, I want you to remember that pleasure is temporary, but the fulfillment you get from being a good person is permanent.

This guide aims to show you how this fulfillment can make you feel better than taking the immoral shortcut. 

Once you realize this, acting with integrity becomes easy and natural, even when no-one’s looking.     

2. Choose Value-Setting Over Goal-Setting

Goal-setting is a valuable activity that can drive you to success.

However, if you’re trying to become happier and more fulfilled, I’d recommend value-setting instead.

Simply list 5-10 adjectives that you’d love people to use when describing you. 

If you want to get better at doing the right thing, perhaps you’d choose words like virtuous, integrous or honest.

Write these down and read them often, the same way you would do for your goals.

Hopefully, this will inspire you to act out these virtues on a daily basis.   

The great thing about value-setting is that you can complete this task TODAY and feel good TODAY.

Goal-setting is helpful, but it doesn’t tend to make us feel good until we complete our goals way in the future.

If we choose to just focus on hitting our goals by any means necessary, we lose the fulfillment of being a good person. To reach our goals faster, we could be tempted to do the wrong thing when others aren’t looking. 

And, even when we reach our goals, the fulfillment  ades pretty fast. For most people, the next logical step is to set new goals anyway.

That’s why I recommend you to take a few minutes now to write down 5-10 values you want to be known for instead.

3. Make Use Of Affirmations

Writing down your values makes them real and tangible.

Using them in positive affirmations embeds them into your psyche.

Here are some affirmations you could work into your daily routine. 

“I do the honest thing, no matter what the circumstances.”

“It’s in my nature to be an honest and virtuous person.”

“I put in the hard work, even when no-one else is present.”

“I am a role model to my friends and loved ones.”

See my list of life-changing positive affirmations for more information about the power of this practice.

4. Become Consciously Aware Of The Good In The World

It feels good to be correct. That’s why our brain is constantly looking for data to support our biases.

If you feel like the world is a selfish place, your mind will hone in on examples of that. 

Hopefully, by completing exercises like value-setting and affirmations, you’ll train your mind to see the good in the world.

Once you begin to see that so often, it will become easier for you to constantly do the good thing, even when nobody’s looking.

5. Surround Yourself With Virtuous People

As Jim Rohn famously said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Surround yourself with people who you believe act with virtue even when nobody’s looking – and you’ll be more inspired to do the same.  

Watching integrity can inspire you to behave with integrity. 

6. Volunteer

How about you volunteer at the old folks home just for one day? Don’t tell anyone you know. Just do it.

The idea is to show yourself that selflessness feels good even if nobody finds out about it.

7. Focus On What You Think, Not What Other People Think 

So many men and women are focused on what other people think about them.

That’s why they’re so obsessed with appearing like they’re getting ahead, even if it means doing something that is morally wrong.

If you can shift your mindset to concentrate on what you think of yourself, you’ll find it easier to do the right thing at all times.     

8. Realize You’re Making The World A Better Place

When you do the right thing, you’re making a positive difference to society, even if no-one caught you doing it. 

That’s as fulfilling as anything.

Plus, it makes life easier for you in the long run.  

9. Doing The Right Thing Becomes A Habit

The more you get used to doing the right thing, the easier it becomes in future, so there’s a benefit to practicing while you’re alone.

This creates a foundation for you to naturally make virtuous decisions at all times. 

10. Don’t Look Backwards

A lot of people are very good at rationalising their behavior when they do the wrong thing.

They’ll remind themselves that somebody screwed them over recently, so they deserve to accept this immoral opportunity.

If you want to get good at doing the right thing, get good at only looking forwards in life. 

My guide on proven ways to empty your mind will help you to develop that skill.  

11. Don’t Kid Yourself. Everyone Knows The Right Thing.

The ‘right thing’ is universal in every culture. It’s ingrained in every good person. 

So, don’t pretend you don’t know the moral thing to do in a specific situation. You’re lying to yourself and you know it. 

12. Understand The Laws Of Karma

The laws of karma state that whatever energy you put out, you get back in return. It’s always at play. 

When you do something immoral you fill yourself with guilt, regret and all sorts of negative energy. The universe can feel that and it can have a negative influence on your future.

On the other hand, when you do virtuous things, you’ll feel a sense of pride, self-respect and positive energy. This has a positive impact on your future, according to the rules of karma.  

13. Find Religion

Most religious people understand that God is watching them at all times. This inspires them to do the virtuous thing even when nobody else is around.

14. The Real Prize Is The Growth

This is a ridiculous example to emphasise the point, but suspend your disbelief for a moment.

What if you stole an Olympic Gold medal from a champion swimmer without anyone knowing? What if you got away with it and everybody believed you were the champion athlete? What if you were given money and prestige for the achievement you didn’t even earn?

How would that affect your self-esteem?

Most likely, it wouldn’t rise at all. It’s not the trophies and medals that make you feel good. It’s the pride of having completed the journey to earn them.

Maybe you’d actually feel worse due to the guilt of lying, cheating the system and breaking the law. 

So, while it might be tempting to gain a reward by breaking the rules or screwing someone over, please know that there’s no long-term fulfillment in that.  

The real prize is the growth from putting in the hard work. 

15. You Never Know Who’s Watching You

The abundance of surveillance cameras (in big cities especially) is generally seen as a bad thing.

The reality is: you can never know for sure if there’s a person who saw or heard you making a bad decision. 

As disturbing as that might be, perhaps you can use that as a motive to do the right thing at all times. 

16. Get Your Act Together

The sad truth is: when you’re struggling and your life is full of stress, it’s harder to resist doing the wrong thing to get ahead.

Perhaps it’s a long road to get where you need to be, but you can take the first step to improve your finances, physical health, mental health, your profession or your personal relationships today. 

If you need support, therapy services have become easier to access than ever. See my list of the best therapy apps for guidance. 

17. Get An Accountability Partner

If you’re struggling to make good decisions when no-one else is around, the answer could be to find an accountability partner.

This could be a good friend, your parents, your kids, a life coach, a therapist or someone else you have a trusted relationship with. 

With an accountability partner, you simply state your desired intention, then report back to tell them if you succeeded. 

Now, you’re less likely to feel that nobody is watching you, because you know you have someone to answer to. 

The fear of letting down your accountability partner can inspire you to do great things even when nobody else is around.   

Any Questions? 

Thanks for reading my post. 

As I previously mentioned, it’s not always easy to do the right thing, but there are so many long-term benefits to doing so.  

If you happen to have a question about this idea, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer as quickly as possible.

I’d love to know what you’re thinking about this topic – and it would be great to hear from you.

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.