“Going through hard times doesn’t build character, it simply reveals it”
The idea behind this old saying is that our true character becomes much more apparent when we are faced with difficult circumstances. I have found that true in my life. It seems that we are all pretty accomplished actors when it comes to adapting to our environment and the roles we are expected to play. For eight to ten hours each day, we quite easily go through the motions of being “the Boss.” But what happens when things start to fall apart? What character traits do we show our people then?
True character is important for a variety of reasons:
Character is a self-defining gift – When no one else is watching, character is the gift that we give ourselves in order to define who we are no matter what the circumstances or surroundings may be. We carry it around with us and it helps protect us in situations that we can’t predict or control.
Character is an obligation to those we love – When our loved ones are not around to represent themselves and their values, character is what keeps us true to them. It says, “I act this way, because I have made promises to people I love.”
Character is a shining light to others – When confronted with problems or behaviors that we know are not right, our character confronts them and models another way to go. Sometimes it will be the first and only time the other person sees that what they are doing is unacceptable.
Character is a refuge – When others around us choose to “go along to get along,” it is our character that will protect us from participating in their duplicity. Organizations filled with yes people rapidly degenerate into mind-numbing cultures where creativity and imagination have no chance for survival.
Character keeps us honest – It does not take long for wrong behaviors and attitudes in our lives to connect our character with our conscience and make a call to the brain that says “YOU ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY – STOP AND TURN AROUND!”
Character is our teacher – As we get older, we seldom remember lessons learned from our successes, rather it is our great failures that tend to stick in our minds. It has been my experience that my greatest failures started out as failures of characters that soon blossomed into failures in judgment. I have learned a lot from looking back on these situations.
Character is non-negotiable – Most of us know the difference between right and wrong. If our character is available to be sold to the highest bidder, it is relatively worthless. If it is solid and non-negotiable, it is more valuable than gold!
Think back on times when your character has been tested or questioned. How did you respond?
Life is full of second chances. Start deciding today how you will respond to life’s challenges in the future. Becoming a person of character is a life journey – make yours a great one!