The dictionary defines a person’s character as “the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing”.
You may have hears this little diddy somewhere along the way as well; “Sow a thought and you reap an act; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny”
Charles Reade is credited with that saying, and I think it’s a very good one and full of truth. It really outlines for us the things that we need to be mindful of, as it pertains to our lives.
Obviously, our predominant thoughts, actions and habits (the good, the bad and the ugly) are what will ultimately play out as our destiny or fate. This is the case for everyone. Just take a quick peek around…
Certainly anyone who is in a constant negative state, will do things that are counter productive to their own happiness or success, and once those types of things become habitual, they will have reaped a life far less worthy than what they could have lived. This seems to be to be one of the ultimate shames. To think that each of us has the opportunity to shape our existence and some either don’t take advantage of it or just don’t care.
For those of us interested in going the other direction…achieving great things, experiencing joy and living the fullest and most abundant life possible, it becomes crucial to pay attention and put the energy and resources necessary into the things we all think about and then do as a result of those thoughts, beliefs and feelings.
Character is something that can be worked on and refined and improved. This is great news! It is also a bit of a departure for those who believe that life merely happens to all of us, and if we’re fortunate, we get a good one.
I like to say it this way; Life doesn’t happen to us, it happens through us.
The events and circumstances that transpire around us really have no way of defining us, unless we choose to let them. Reality seems to be subjective in almost every sense of the word. Like the old saying, “one man’s nightmare is another man’s dream”. The exact same circumstances can be perceived completely differently by the people living through them or observing them. Therefore it would seem that the events themselves do not have the ability to influence any of us in any way that we are not allowing them to.
You can believe that “life sucks” or you can believe that “life is glorious”. And whichever ideal you choose to embrace, it will start to play out for you right before your eyes. You will begin to see example after example to support your belief system. And then, based on this conviction, you will begin to act in a certain way. If you think things are lousy and not going to get any better, then you lose a certain respect for yourself and others, and you may develop a bitter edge. You might start to do things that are irresponsible, because in your mind “it just doesn’t matter!”…and before you know it, you have created the habit of being irresponsible. This habit, over time, becomes your character. And of course, the destiny that awaits one who doesn’t care what he or she does, and doesn’t respect those living around them is not a very good one. Life becomes the self-fulfilling prophecy and the result of the time and energy you put into your own belief system. Yes…it sucks!
So how’s your character?
Right now seems like the perfect time to take a little stock in yourself. Take the time to reflect on your beliefs. Do you think that the world is a good place or a bad place? Do you feel like you are a person destined for success or failure? Pay close attention to how you feel when you answer these questions. If you get the idea that maybe you are being a tad negative, then start to change the way you are thinking and start molding a belief system that is more conducive to a wonderful and exuberant life.
Your actions will come from those things that you truly believe. And the actions are what creates your destiny. Habits are formed in 21 days. How long have you been bummed out?
The more work you can do on yourself from a thought and belief perspective, the better. In fact, this is the variable that you have complete control over. You can begin to think of things differently beginning today. Just for kicks, and as an example for you in “real life”, try this: Instead of walking around at the store avoiding eye contact with people and just sort of moving about in your own little world…smile at everyone you see. Say, “hi there” when you pass someone or when an individual invades your periphery. Be nice. And then see what happens. Here’s what I will bet the farm on….the world will start to seem a lot more friendly (even if only within the grocery store at first). You will see that other people can smile, too. Someone will take you up on your greeting and will say “hello” back to you…they might even go so far as to ask, “how are you today?” If this happens, tell them. “I’m great!” (Because, of course, you are). Something as simple as this will change your perspective, and it will cause you to start acting a certain way.
Now, the trip to the grocery store is one thing. You need to then bring that same energy and that enthusiasm with you every place you go. Eventually it will translate into things like; making contact with someone who can help you, or people referring others to you because you are so “positive” and “happy” all the time. You may be wanting to start your own business, and before you even realize how the process works, you run into someone who knows someone who can get you started…and they have lived two houses down from you for the past year! Or you will begin to experience other wonderful scenarios similar to this. It all starts with you and it all starts inside your head.
You know what you need to work on, and you know that working on it now will make a huge difference for you and for those you care most about in the future. Start right now.
Character, it has been said, is what you do when no one else is looking, right?
Well…no one else is looking…