Unlocking the 3 Traits of an Unshakable Character
According to Webster’s dictionary, “character” is “the traits and features that form an individual.” It’s who we are and what we do when no one is looking. It cannot be bought or faked, nor is it based on your past accomplishments, and works its way to the surface of your professional and personal life to form your identity. Your character is cultivated and shaped one choice at a time.
There are three qualities that form a large part of your character: discipline, endurance and courage. In our fast-paced culture of immediate gratification, these traits are becoming endangered. Here’s how to cultivated them each day, one choice at a time.
Discipline is delayed gratification. There’s a famous saying: “Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die to get there.” We want the prize now, before we’ve paid the price. However, if you pay the price later, you’ll always pay a steeper price than if you put in the work and wait for the payoff.
One of the best ways to become more disciplined is to plan: Plan your day, week, month and year. When you plan, you’re engaging in advanced decision making. This helps you work more efficiently by making the hard choices ahead of time. Accountability is the companion of advanced decision making. When you have an accountability partner, you’re more likely to stick with your plan and do what you need to do to succeed.
Many of us have the tendency to want something and want it now. We set goals and we expect to see the results right away. For example, a person may set a goal to run a 5K and then become frustrated when they have trouble running a mile during the event. It’s not enough to set the goal; it’s crucial to create a plan to achieve it.
Part of the plan is making it a practice to break through the quitting points. We’ve all experienced them; they’re the times when you face a challenge and you think, at the moment, that it’s easier to quit than to move on. To go back to the running analogy, it’s the point where your legs feel like jelly and you want to quit. It’s important to keep working at this point though because every time you break through, you build character. Endurance is a muscle you cultivate one choice at a time. The same muscle that pushes through a quitting point in your business is the same one you’ll use to exercise patience with your loved ones.
Courage is the willingness to face your fears head-on. We think courageous people are born that way. However, courageous people are regular people like you and me who have make the decision at some point in their lives to face their fears instead of run from them. We all have fears: We may fear failure or success or we may fear what other people think of us. But every time we face our fears, we grow. In fact, the choice to grow or not to grow is really a choice between comfort and fear. Sure, it’s easier to be comfortable, but you’re not going to grow your character. When you face your fear, you minimize it and when you avoid it, it just continues to grow. Each time you attack a fear—big or small—you become more courageous and improve this important character quality.
These traits are also similar to those found in the success stories of emigrants—people who left their homelands for new opportunities in America. In my recently launched book, “The Emigrant Edge,” I outline the most common traits of successful emigrants who have made it in America. The good news is, anyone can cultivate and hone these traits and use them to their advantage as well. Purchase a copy online or at a bookseller near you.Brian