There’s a difference between talking about what you do (or are going to do)… and actually doing it.
This all relates to your strength of character.
This past week has been noisy. Lots of talk. Too many words already spoken, written, hurled and shouted, that my ears are ringing.
So many hurtful, uncomfortable, aggressive responses from so-called world leaders that I’m almost lost for words. Things that call our strength of character as humans into question and throw our moral compasses off course.
It rankles because we seek heroes in life. Someone to look up to. That could be:
- Our leaders in the workplace, on the political stage, in the classroom, or on the sports field.
- Those within our peer group, who’ve done great things to inspire.
- Or friends and loved ones who’ve been there when we needed them, whom we admire.
Real-world heroes are people who display a strength of character that we want to emulate.
But what if the “leaders” out there, who we thought we could look up to, aren’t actually cutting the mustard when it comes to leading?
When there’s a dearth of suitable role models, it’s up to us to take up the mantle and become the role models we seek.
For ourselves, and for others.
The people out there that we do admire are really just people like you and me. The only difference is in the action. So, how can we be more like them?
It’s not what we say. It’s what we DO.
Our strength of character is revealed in the actions we take every day. In each situation we encounter. It’s the way in which we solve problems. Greet our neighbours and meet strangers. Handle work conflicts or personal crises. The way we approach the big things and the little ones.
Or, it’s the way we don’t do any of this .
What do you want to be remembered for? Doing or not doing?
As one of my role models pointed out:
“Things present themselves to you, and it’s how you choose to deal with them that reveals who you are. We all say a lot of things, don’t we, about who we are and how we think. But in the end it’s your actions, how you respond to circumstance that reveals your character.”
So, where do our character strengths lie?
In their book “Character, Strengths and Virtues“, Christopher Petersen and Martin Seligman, (founder of the Positive Psychology movement) identify 24 character strengths.
These strengths impact on the way we think and act, and fall into six categories based on these virtues: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence.
Understanding where you strengths lie, helps you nurture the areas where you’re weak, and use what you’re good at to set great examples for others.
Q: What do you have to gain by living up to the character strengths you believe in?
A: Self-respect, a sense of accomplishment, being a role model for others, (to name a few benefits).
That’s a whole lot more than many political leaders warrant at present.
It’s as simple as showing by doing, instead of just talking about it. But having strength of character also means doing this in a way that doesn’t denigrate, disrespect, damage, malign or hurt others.
So, go on …be your own role model. Show up, set the example, take action, follow through.
Here’s a few resources to help you do …
- You can take this quick, free Strengths Survey developed by the VIA Institute of Character, to find out where your strengths lie.
- Professor Martin Seligman has written several books, including “Learned Optimism” and “The Pursuit of Happiness” based on his research and findings.
And sign up to kickstart your week on a positive note.
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