“When you seek to advance your own position in life, character is the best lever — perhaps not in the short term, but certainly over the long term.”
I am reading
The Daily Stoic for the third time.
History’s greatest minds — including George Washington, Fredrick the Great, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and today’s top achievers — embrace the practical wisdom of the ancient stoics.
The timeless wisdom of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, and others offers all of us a practical philosophy for living a better life.
The stoics were individuals of great character who navigated their lives by core principles and guiding tenants, not simply by what was easy in the moment.
Their long-term perspective on what was morally right and served society at large guided their thoughts and deeds.
Where and how can you more fully leverage your own strongest character traits to advance your own life and that of others in your personal and professional communities?
“Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself.”
—Charles De Gaulle, 20th Century President of France
We need more Level 5 leaders today!
In his classic book,
Good to Great, Jim Collins describes Level 5 leaders as more like Abraham Lincoln and Socrates than George Patton or Julius Caesar.
Level 5 Leaders have a mixture of humility and stoic resolve, doing what it takes to make organizations—and hopefully a nation—truly great again.
These special people demonstrate character by shouldering responsibility for difficulties and generously acknowledging and praising others for the efforts and progress that are realized.
Where are you seeing evidence of great character and resolve in the leaders in your personal and professional communities?
How and in what ways can you also fall back on yourself during these difficult times?
“The story of each stone leads back to a mountain.”
—W.S. Merwin, Late American Poet
Image from Unsplash by Daniel von Aarburg
Can you recall anyone telling you that you are “a chip off the old block”?
Perhaps you’ve used this phrase to refer to some bright, precocious youth showing great promise and demonstrating the positive qualities of their parents, teachers, or other well-regarded people.
Who have been the rugged, mountainous individuals in your life?
How have they shaped and carved your character, personality, attitudes, and talents?
What experiences and life lessons did they provide to help you become the person you are today?
Who are the people in your personal or professional worlds that see you as their mountain? How can and will you intentionally guide, teach, and coach them to be their very best?
“A talent can be cultivated in tranquility; a character only in the rushing stream of life.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, 18th Century German writer and statesman
Image from Unsplash by Sergio Souza
Reflecting on this
Quotable Coach series over the past eight years, I realized that it was the values and character traits of each author that had me select their quotes.
These daily nuggets of practical wisdom are more often gleaned from the rushing streams of life than tranquil self-reflection.
Cultivating our talents in both tranquil and active times provides an added foundation for many of the character traits we most admire and wish to emulate in our own lives.
If developing your own character is a priority, you may wish to read the remarkable stories of less well-known individuals in David Brooks book,
The Road to Character.
“The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.”
—Aristotle, ancient Greek Philosopher
No one who has ever lived has led a completely charmed life in which everything went well, pushed along by a kind breeze.
On the surface of things, many people think that celebrities, great sports figures, accomplished business leaders, and even folks that share the highlights of their lives on social media have it made.
When you look even inches below the surface however, we all bear the scars of the numerous lumps and bumps life delivers.
How can you demonstrate and more fully appreciate the dignity and grace in yourself and others as you and those around you make the best of what life presents?
“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.”
—Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States
Image from Unsplash by Marten Newhall
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He was the principle author of the Declaration of Independence and a significant proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights.
Today’s quote points to the importance of personal character, honesty, and integrity in holding each other to the highest standards of personal conduct.
What might Jefferson think about our world today, where, for all intents and purposes, the world really is watching our every move?
How pleased and proud are you regarding your personal and professional conduct? Where is there room for higher standards you wish to live by and show the world?
“It is the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.”
—Aeschylus, ancient Greek tragedian
Image from Unsplash by PCMedia
If you want to live a happier, more fulfilling life, today’s quote is filled with coaching wisdom.
Unfortunately, jealousy and envy are all too prominent in our “more, more, more” hyper-competitive world. Coming out on top is all that seems to matter.
Consider the idea that you could double or triple your life satisfaction by taking pleasure and delight in the successes of others in your personal and professional communities.
How and with whom will you sincerely acknowledge and honor the successes and accomplishments of others in your world today? What would be the impact on your life if you made this a daily habit?
“Bad company corrupts good character.”
—Menander, 2nd Century BC Greek dramatist
Image created in Canva
Who have been the most influential people throughout your life, helping to shape your character?
Examine your most favorable and admirable traits to see when they were developed. What made you decide, intentionally or by default, to adopt your temperament, personality, and general approach to life?
On the flip side, what are some of your bad habits and less desirable character traits? What people or other factors influenced these qualities and behaviors to become your less than optimal self?
Take a good long and objective look at the company you keep. Where is it time for an upgrade? Where might you perhaps delete some viruses or other character software running in the background?
Posted in Character, Habits, Influence, Integrity |
Tagged Barry Demp, character, Demp Coaching, habits, influence, integrity, The Quotable Coach, traits
“No one wants to hear everything that’s in your head. They just want you to live up to what comes out of your mouth.”
—Adam Grant, American psychologist and author
Image from Unsplash by Clem Onojeghuo
Who are the blabbermouths in your life? Who are the people who go on and on about their ideas, beliefs, and opinions, and never seem to take a breath? How do you feel around them?
To what degree might people in your world place you on their list of those who are more focused on being
interesting rather than interested?
What makes these individuals even more troublesome is that on many, if not most, occasions, they appear to be all talk and very little action.
Who are the people in your life who are impeccable with their words? How would your life be enhanced if you and others lived up to what comes out of your mouth more often?
Consider reading or re-reading
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz for some added wisdom on this topic.
FRIDAY REVIEW: CHARACTER
What is your definition of character? Here are a few character-related posts you may have missed. Click the links to read the full messages.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”
“Gossip is the Devil’s Radio.”