“Character is the pedestal that determines how much weight a person can sustain” – David McLendon.
In the school of Purpose-pursuit, charisma is an elective, competence is a required course and character is a compulsory course. What you spend decades to build can be demolished in a moment if you lack character.
Your pursuit of purpose must be built on the foundation of good character. Character is built, developed and maintained. You don’t just “happen to have” character, you discipline yourself to do some things in a way that you get accustomed to them and you get to be known for it. Character is the habitual way you respond to the situations of life.
You may want to see character in the light of alphabets and numbers. They never change. What I want to share in this piece are principles you should incorporate into your pursuit of purpose as personal values in the pursuit of character.
1. Build your life on the Word
The word of God is eternal. The Scriptures chronicle the plans, purposes and principles of and from a changeless Eternal God. You should build your life on the Word of God. The Word of God is the surest foundation upon which your life can be built. The surety of the Word is hinged on the integrity of God. Thus, when we say God is holy, we mean that He is one in His thoughts, words and action. Building your life on the Word would mean patterning your life after the character of God. Character begets character.
2. Count the cost of your promises before making them.
Play writer, actor, and stage manager, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin known by his stage name Molière once commented that all men are alike in the making of promises but they differ in their doing of such promises. Jesus talks about the shame that will be suffered by a man who embarks on a project without counting the cost and ends up unable to finish the project. The shame is not good for him; it isn’t for you too.
I once promised a friend a cake for her birthday; it turned out that I could not get it. She might not have said anything about it but the fact is, she probably does not trust me anymore- at least, not when it comes to birthday gifts. You need to build the habit of counting the costs before you make promises. Never allow yourself to be put in a tight corner; always be proactive about the commitments you surrender to.
3. Value your name above anything else.
Part of what is necessary to build a good foundation for the pursuit of your life assignment is the integrity of your name. You have to make the integrity of your name part of your core values. Value your name above anything else. Business people know that the integrity of your name is part of the value of your product.
I once read of how the great golfer, Bobby Jones accidentally caused his ball to move in the final play-off of a U.S Open tournament. He immediately turned to the marshals and announced the foul. The marshals themselves did not see the foul, neither did anyone in the gallery. Jones lost that match that day by one stroke, but he did not lose the integrity of his name. His character became well-known that the United States Golf Association sportsmanship Award came to be named “the Bob Jones Award.”*
4. Understand and accept who you are
Central to building a sure foundation of sound character for your pursuit of purpose is your understanding and acceptance of your identity. People trooped to listen to John the Baptist and at some point they thought he was the long-awaited Messiah. But John understood who he was and he, without hesitation, refused to jeopardize his integrity for the fame of being a messiah.
You are set up for failure if you attempt to envision what you want to do before you understand who you are created to be. Any fame or success you attract to yourself other than by the force of your genuine identity cannot last.
Your character has a lot of impact on the maximisation of your potentials in the pursuit of your purpose. Building your character is a choice you must make daily. Your character is different from your reputation. Your reputation is what people believe you are. Character is who you really are. D.L Moody says, ‘Character is who you are in the dark.’ Character is integral to your pursuit of purpose. Charisma is optional. Competence is required. Character is compulsory!
- Bobby Jones (golfer). Wikipedia: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Jones_(golfer)
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