Character is a word that is well talked about both in the business and professional spheres. It is a reference to the personality of an individual, the qualities and attributes unique and distinctive to the individual. This is who the person is in the absence of an audience. This is what an individual sees when they place a mirror in front. There are many things that shape or build character either for the good or bad. Some character traits can be re-modeled and turned around for good. When you are aware of some of the building blocks to your character, you will become more deliberate and intentional about building your own personality. You will be cautious and aware of what makes you the person you are. The reason behind is to make sure your character is sound, stable and full of integrity. Your character shapes people’s perception and association they put to your name. Your name can gain the influence necessary when you have a noble character. Your name can buy better than your cash. Your reputation counts in your dealings with humanity.
The 10 Bricks
1. Your past experiences (background & upbringing) – The things you are drive towards in life are usually those things you grew up exposed to. You can only go as far as your exposure can take you both on good or bad behavior. I have seen many who have grown in environments where alcohol was abused and under intense verbal and physical abuse of family members. The character traits tended to follow the same pattern even through school. I had a bully of a friend in school whose home environment was exactly how he lived his life. He valued beating other people for fun. It became his character block. It goes without saying that if you were not exposed to violent behavior you are less likely going to become violent than one who experienced it every day. Expose your children to the correct character values and traits and they will naturally grow into that.
2. The feeding of the mind (mental diet) – Your mind is the engine room for your character. You become what you think about most of the time. You think about the things you feed your mind with. The mind is always hungry and serious about creating thoughts. Thoughts graduate in beliefs, actions, habits, into character and ultimately a lifestyle. We feed our minds by the things we watch and read. The television shows we watch the websites we visit, the books and magazines we read all feed the mind. Since the mind is the seedbed of character, it is vital to feed the mind with the correct diet. You get what you feed your mind with. You cannot expect good to come out of garbage. Garbage into the mind, Garbage will be displayed in the form of personality or character. As you watch what you eat physically, watch what you feed your mind subconsciously.
3. The Counsel you entertain – It is important to receive council from people you look up to such as mentors and heroes in your domain. Everyone needs a significant other that can speak into their lives. People you hold with high esteem and regard can easily model bad character. You can easily think that it is alright to behave in a certain manner because you see your mentor doing it, you see your Pastor condoning it, you see all your leaders speaking well of it, your personal life coach advocates for it. Always judge the counsel you get. Is this building me to become a better person or I am being dragged to become another person I never wanted to be. You have the right to shape your own character.
4. The Values you enact – A personal value system is necessary in the formulation of true character. People can preach to you about good behavior but you certainly lean towards the values you hold dearly to your own heart. It is easy to judge a person’s character based on the values they uphold. Do you uphold honesty, integrity, family etc? Come up with your value system. It will generally tell everyone about your character without you having to raise your voice to convince anyone about it. Always revisit your value system seeking to check on the actual real tangible value you get from upholding such values. Bear in mind that you enact or come up with your own value system. It is important to however bring these to light in the institution of marriage because people usually get married without synchronizing value systems. In the end both sides always get surprised and think the other party has weird priorities resulting in frustration.
5. The Habits you become familiar with – Those seemingly little things that you do naturally when you have no one looking at you are building your character. When there is an audience, people tend to show face, tailor their actions, watch habits and even watch their own words for that period. That is perception or reputation management. Catch the same person unawares, singing explicit lyrics and doing the unimaginable. That is the real person not what you see advertised. Those little habits compounded together are strong bricks that are building your character. You easily become familiar with something you do regularly. Take stock of those little habits on your own. You are the best assessor of yourself as you can afford to be true to yourself about it without taking offense. Stand in the mirror and take note of those little things. Until you make a decision to change the habits, your character will be enshrined and embodied by what you do.
6. The Associations and Relationships you create – Every human being has an intrinsic desire to network or reach out to those around. It is in our associations that we get to learn a lot on life. Advice from a friend is sometimes more valued than from any other person including a relative. Friends normally have some things in common. It is rare for people with different and diverse interests to be close to each other. Friends spend time, talking and playing together. It is in the process that one learns new things. What have you become since your become friends with that person? What were you before that you may have otherwise lost? When you part with your friends do you become someone else you are not when with them? Be real.
7. Your Psycho-Social Spiritual Involvement – Your own spiritual connections have values and beliefs they hold on to dearly. These are beliefs you mix or used to formulate or align your own values. There are general character expectations expected of certain social or spiritual gifts. They are sometimes governed by rules and regulations, codes of conduct, commandments, policies and procedures etc. The condition is that for someone to be a part of any social or spiritual group there is an apparent expectation that he/she adheres to the given expectations. There are traits and attributes one may carry in life but as soon as someone joins the group, the character expectations dictate how a member must behave both in the personal life.
8. Your Verbal Produce – Your mouth has capacity to produce the bad and the good. What you speak on is something you have internalized. When you speak about something so often, you will soon belief and become it. It is always good to come up with affirmations that you read out loud to yourself over and over again until they become part of your confession and second nature. Affirmations are about speaking something that is not as though it is happening in the present. You say it while attaching all the emotion and focus that goes with it. Begin to feel you have received what you are talking about. It creates in you a sense of achievement and as you continue to carry this attitude, you become what you are talking about. Total character change for the better. Say things like “I am a person of integrity, I am resolute and make my decisions wisely, I am compassionate and loving, I am honest with myself and with others, I have great respect in my community and country….” Just keep going. Write those attitudes you want not talk about the ones you want to change.
9. Your Decisions & Standards you set – What you settle for in life can shape your character and attitudes. It all boils down to choice at the end of the day. What you choose to become is usually what you begin to work towards. You do not just become a certain type of person until you make a choice, or decision to become that person. Choices are pivotal in shaping character. We can give you all the benefits of having a certain type of character but if you have not internal buy-in you remain where you are or choose to become the exact opposite. Your character is shaped by your exposure. Your standards are fashioned by your level of awareness.
10. Your Vulnerability & Accountability Willingness – The building of good character traits happens in a position of vulnerability and accountability. You will only be helped to the degree of your willingness to receive the help. Character excellence is birthed when you allow external parties to know what you are going through for the purpose of being assisted and setup for success. You need an accountability partner, someone that can tell you as it is without you being offended. You have to be willing to tell the truth. Accountability setups hold information in confidence, nothings goes out to third parties.