“A talent can be cultivated in tranquility; a character only in the rushing stream of life.”

“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.

EXERCISE:

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.”

“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.

EXERCISE:

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.”

“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?

EXERCISE:

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.”

“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.

EXERCISE:

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.”

“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?

EXERCISE:

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?

No one wants to hear everything that’s in your head

“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 of a person holding a megaphone

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.

EXERCISE:

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 About Character

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.”

 

 

 

 

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips

“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.”

—Oliver Goldsmith, 18th Century Irish Poet

Over the past few years I have gained a great interest in history, with a particular emphasis on the lives of remarkable people who have shared our world.

In his book, The Road to Character, author David Brooks focuses on the deeper values that inform the lives of numerous pivotal figures. I had no knowledge of many of them before reading this book.

Introducing the terms “resumé virtues” and “eulogy virtues,” Brooks points to the external achievement of wealth, fame, and status, comparing them to qualities that lie at the core of our being, such as kindness, bravery, honesty, and faithfulness. How we balance the two types of virtues along our life journey represents the road to character we can choose to navigate and explore.

EXERCISE:

Who are the leaders and special individuals – today, and from the past – that helped you become the person you are today?

What examples did they set through their daily efforts as well as their words?

What sermons are you delivering each day in your personal and professional communities?

Friday Review of Character

FRIDAY REVIEW: CHARACTER

How would people describe your character?  Here are a few character-related posts you may have missed. Click on the links to read the full message.

 

“Be the kind of person you want in your life.”

 

 

 

 

 

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”

 

 

 

 

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

 

 

 

Character is a Diamond

“Character is a diamond that scratches every other stone.”

—Cyrus A. Bartol, 19th Century Theologian

Image of cut diamond

Image from huffingtonpost

Diamonds are one of the hardest substances on earth, and will be here far longer than most other stones, which erode over time.

Character, or one’s personality traits, are the foundation for the strengths we attribute to others and ourselves as we operate within our personal and professional communities.

EXERCISE:

Rate yourself from one (low) to ten (high) on the personality traits that comprise your character:

Attitude Enthusiasm Ethics
Goal Orientation Listening Persistence
Self-Awareness Confidence Discipline
Adaptability Trustworthiness Responsibility

What actions can and will you take to strengthen your character to develop the solid reputation you desire?