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Character Matters (If You Let It)



I subscribe to a few important mailing lists, and Seth Godin is one of the few. Today I received an email from him as part of his regular/daily email, and it's what that sparked today's article from me:

Choosing to develop character is difficult, because it requires avoiding the shorter, more direct path.

It can be slow, expensive and difficult work.And rewarding character is difficult as well, because someone is probably offering you an alternative that's cheaper or faster.

A sure road to a quick payday.

But...Every time we avoid the easy in favor of what's right, we create ripples.

Character begets more character, weaving together the fabric of our culture, the kind of world we'd rather live in.

Link here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2018/04/character-matters-if-you-let-it.html

And this resonated with me, deep inside.

Possibly because of the culmination of my readings, personal experiences, entrepreneurship, fatherhood, husband and being a Christian, I try to go "deep, basic and strategic" when it comes to building and living a successful life (and also to deal with pain and setbacks).

Fundamental & Basic

The fundamental and basic stuff that I believe "sets everything in motion" are the large/larger levers of life (ie majoring on major vs majoring on minor) which includes daily/regularly building upon layers and layers for:

  • physical health: drinking good clean filtered water, taking good quality health supplements, sleeping well, exercising 4-6x per week
  • mental health: reading books, blogs and bible; meditating and praying
  • social health: spending time with family, loved ones and friends
  • passive income: regularly adding sums to dividend stocks to increase yearly dividend amounts
  • removing negative stuff from my life one piece a time

Value Creation Vs Zero Sum

One of the stuff that perplexes me is how some individuals and corporations adopt a "zero sum mentality" which basically means that the world's money/resources is finite, so if someone wins, someone has to lose.

This is true in many of the old-school/imbalanced/inefficient markets, but this isn't true at the same time.

As an entrepreneur, we create value all the time, and we get rewarded in proportion to the reach, quantum and quality of the value we create.

Creating Versus Consuming

Creating is a conscious act of creating/manufacturing something, which can be physical, mental, financial, emotional, relationship; it improves our creativity, output and increases our sense of skills, experiences, expertise, wellbeing and value adding to the world.

Opposed to purely consuming, which tends to be a purely "taking/using/consuming" and in a bad sense, it leads to complacency, non-progress. Of course, we need to consume what we need to consume eg basic foods, attire, etc; I'm referring to individuals and corporations that only seek to take, use and consume without giving back.

OK I digress, those are just some preliminary thoughts based on what I felt and thought post reading Seth's writings.

"character building"

According to Wikipedia on "moral character":

Moral character or character is an evaluation of an individual's stable moral qualities. The concept of character can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as empathy, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty, or of good behaviors or habits.

Moral character primarily refers to the assemblage of qualities that distinguish one individual from another—although on a cultural level, the set of moral behaviors to which a social group adheres can be said to unite and define it culturally as distinct from others.

Psychologist Lawrence Pervin defines moral character as "a disposition to express behavior in consistent patterns of functions across a range of situations".

The word "character" is derived from the Ancient Greek word "charaktĂŞr", referring to a mark impressed upon a coin. Later it came to mean a point by which one thing was told apart from others.

There are two approaches when dealing with moral character: Normative ethics involve moral standards that exhibit right and wrong conduct. It is a test of proper behavior and determining what is right and wrong. Applied ethics involve specific and controversial issues along with a moral choice, and tend to involve situations where people are either for or against the issue.

In 1982 V. Campbell and R. Bond proposed the following as major sources in influencing character and moral development: heredity, early childhood experience, modeling by important adults and older youth, peer influence, the general physical and social environment, the communications media, the teachings of schools and other institutions, and specific situations and roles that elicit corresponding behavior.

The field of business ethics examines moral controversies relating to the social responsibilities of capitalist business practices, the moral status of corporate entities, deceptive advertising, insider trading, employee rights, job discrimination, affirmative action and drug testing.

In the military field, character is considered particularly relevant in the leadership development area. Military leaders should not only "know" theoretically the moral values but they must embody these values.

Basically in a nutshell, character is about the embodiment of pursuing:

  • good
  • right
  • positive

And that is highly important, especially in a world where there is so much perversion and pre-occupation with short term and lack of long term thinking and living.

It's not easy, because life is hard. The struggle is real.

But think about this - once you let one thing "slide once", it becomes a doorway to allow similar decision making, and it'd happen again and again and again.

People think that "I'll do this once/once more, and then I'm ok/done" - no, it doesn't always work that way. The people, environment that enabled one to do the wrong thing once will come back for en core, to do it more.

Greed never ends.

Fear never ends.

That's perhaps why Seth's email hit home:

Choosing to develop character is difficult, because it requires avoiding the shorter, more direct path.

It can be slow, expensive and difficult work.And rewarding character is difficult as well, because someone is probably offering you an alternative that's cheaper or faster.

A sure road to a quick payday.

But...Every time we avoid the easy in favor of what's right, we create ripples.

Character begets more character, weaving together the fabric of our culture, the kind of world we'd rather live in.

Link here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2018/04/character-matters-if-you-let-it.html

What kind of world do you want to live in?

I know what kind of world I want to live in, and the kind of relationships I want, and the kind of stories I want to tell my children.

It's slower and longer, but it's better: it's positive, good and right.



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