Today we are going to talk about character, your character. First let’s define what character is. The dictionary defines character as your moral qualities, ethical standards and principles. Your character is also a combination of the way you treat people, the way you respond to challenges and obstacles, and the way you use your words.
You might not have ever given much thought to what your character is, but you should and here’s why. There are costs you will experience when you have a “bad” character. If you lie, have a bad temper, or are lazy, you are going to miss out on a lot of good opportunities.
Many teens just concentrate on living in the moment and not worrying about the consequences of their actions. Living in the moment is a good idea, but you have to realize that your words and actions have costs. If you are not careful with your character, it won’t be long until you see some negative consequences. The consequences could be not getting a job you wanted, not being promoted, being denied special privileges from your parents or it could be not being invited somewhere fun.
Let me give you a couple examples from my life that taught me some hard lessons about how important your character really is.
I was working at a job for several years and applied for a promotion. Even though I didn’t have the best “work character” for the first couple years, I had changed and was now more dependable and reliable. I wasn’t calling out sick anymore and I had some of the highest productivity in my department. I really thought I was going to get the promotion. I was quite surprised when I didn’t.
When I talked to my boss, he told me I didn’t get promoted because of my previous poor work ethic. I explained that I had changed and was now working harder than ever. He said that doesn’t change the poor work I had already done.
At the time, I felt that was extremely unfair. I felt like I was doomed to never advance in that job and I felt hopeless. It was a terrible feeling. It didn’t seem right that my previous actions should be held against me forever, but I learned a valuable lesson that day; that was real life.
You see, people might forgive you for the poor decisions you might make, but they won’t forget. And just because they don’t constantly bring it up to you, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t changed the way they look at you and treat you.
Not only did my “bad” character traits affect my work, they also affected me in my personal relationships. When I was younger, I was a “class clown” and always tried to make people laugh. Unfortunately, I often did this by making fun of others, and even though I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, I definitely did.
And because I hurt those people, they didn’t want me around. There were times when I wasn’t invited to parties or events because of something I said about the host or someone that was going to be there. It didn’t feel good missing out on those parties and then hearing about what fun it was from everyone later. I didn’t realize at the time that the reason why I wasn’t invited was because of my character.
I have been very successful in my life, but I wish I grasped how important my character was going to be in my life. I wish I realized the importance of character at a younger age. It would have made a big difference and I would have been even more successful than I have been.
The good news is I changed and so can you. I would like you to take a moment and ask yourself a few questions. Try to be honest with yourself and set your ego aside.
Would you hire you?
Would you trust you?
Would you be a good influence on you?
If you answered no to any of those questions, go a little deeper and find out why the answer is no. That will be a good place to start on identifying what character traits you can change.
I will leave you with some good advice other people have told me that helped me change my ways.
- Don’t say anything behind anybody’s back that you wouldn’t be willing to say to their face.
- Don’t hurt someone else’s feelings just to make someone else laugh.
- Even if you don’t think people are watching you and paying attention, they are.
- You will go much farther in life being a “good guy” rather than a “tough guy”.
About the Author: Michael TARBY, Monthly Mentor, is a life change expert and author of the best-selling book Living Your Big Juicy Life, The Secrets to Having More Love, Joy and Success. His varied background allows him to resonate with people from all walks of life. He has been everything from a police officer to an actor. In college, he was the class president and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and is also Board Certified in Radiography. Michael has dedicated his life to helping others learn from his successes and many failures. He has spoken all across the country and received standing ovations from large and small audiences. Read More…