You Are the Sole Custodian of Your Integrity

Adrian S. Potter
4 min readFeb 25, 2024

Don’t slack off at the job — take good care of it.

Photo by Brett Jordan:

The Secondhand Inspiration Project begins with a motivational quote and ventures wherever the creative path meanders.

Maria Popova is a Bulgarian-born writer, blogger, and critic based in the United States. She is best known for creating and curating Brain Picking (now known as The Marginalian), a website that explores a wide range of topics including literature, science, philosophy, and art.

Popova’s writing is characterized by its depth, insight, and interdisciplinary approach, often weaving together diverse ideas and perspectives. Through Brain Pickings, she shares thought-provoking essays, book reviews, and cultural commentary, aiming to cultivate curiosity and intellectual exploration in her audience.

Popova is celebrated for her ability to distill complex concepts into accessible insights, making her work resonate with a broad audience. She is recognized as a prominent figure in contemporary intellectual discourse, inspiring readers with her passion for knowledge and ideas. Her quote –

“You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.”

- carries several layers of meaning regarding personal integrity and the judgments of others. Let’s examine the parts and their sum.

Personal Integrity

Popova emphasizes that our integrity, the alignment between our actions, beliefs, and principles, is solely our responsibility. It is about being true to ourselves, even when faced with misunderstandings or assumptions from others.

Misunderstandings and Assumptions.

The quote suggests that when others misunderstand or make assumptions about us, it reflects more about their perceptions, biases, and mindset than it does about who we truly are. People often project their beliefs and values onto others, leading to misunderstandings.



Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity ·