Character is forged through adversity, developed through lived values and becomes the defining “characteristic” of your nature. Adversity is defined and addressed differently by each who encounters what he or she believes to be challenging or trying times. The key words are “believe” and “challenge.”
The True Test
One of the most critical measures of a person’s character is how they treat people they will get nothing from in return. I am never shocked, but will always be baffled that some people never outgrow the need to treat people differently based on their self-interests. Most people are friendly to people who can help them. At some level, in some way, it is almost expected in this day and age. But how do most people treat those who can do nothing to help them? Some are indifferent; others are anywhere from haughty to hostile. How you handle the clerk at the checkout counter to your neighbor says a lot about your character.
What You Think, You Are
Perhaps the most important mental and spiritual principle ever discovered is that what is going on outside of you is a reflection of what is going on inside of you. You can tell the inner condition and character of a person by looking at the external conditions of his or her life. Your mind is extraordinarily powerful. Your thoughts control and determine almost everything that happens to you. They can make you happy or sad, sometimes in an instant. They can make you famous or unpopular, confident or insecure, positive or negative. We all have negative experiences and negative emotions from those experiences that have the capability of crippling us. We have a choice to give in to regret, or sadness, or anger, or to grow. It is in those moments at the crossroads, where our character is developed.
Who Are You?
Characterize people by their actions, and their words will never fool you. How a person plays “the game” reveals part of his or her character; however, how he or she loses tells it all. How a person reacts to any emotional situation will explain a little bit about their character. This includes love, loss, remorse, anger, stress, sadness, and so many other things. More times than not, when an inconvenience develops, and we are faced with a chance to grow and add value to our lives, or others, we take a nose-dive because we lack the necessary character. Your reputation is what other people think you are. Your character is what you are. You want your reputation and your character to match but concentrate on your character. You may be able to fool others about the kind of person you are for a time, but it seldom lasts for long. The surest way to make sure your character and your reputation are the same is to live your life in such a way that nothing you do would embarrass you if it were printed on the front page of the newspaper.
Core of Character
You build good character by doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. You add value to yourself and others by having good character. Character is smoothed by adversity. It is borne out of a refusal to be defined by the judgments of others, the lot that life might cast before you or the afflictions, physical and emotional that once came to hold you down. While beauty catches the attention, character catches the heart. The clarity of your convictions, the choices you make, and the promises you keep, is your true character.