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Character examination

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Rochelle Hemingway
  • 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- It is a simple fact that some people are easier to like and get along with than others.This almost always has to do with a person’s character. Character is what I refer to as an "intangible" factor. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. was speaking of character when he said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Exceptional leaders are those who are open, social, friendly, communicative, humble, sensitive to others, flexible, honest and down to earth.These qualities are the exact qualities which leave the deepest and most meaningful impact on others.The type of character we build is our choice.If we make poor choices such as being dishonest, lazy, entitled, egotistical, bull or hot-headed, attention-seeking or blaming, we will not develop the type of character others feel compelled to follow. In every situation we have choice in how we respond.Good character is what separates the great from the average, empty words from action, and the successful from the non-successful. 

People of great character are admired because they consistently do the right things for the right reasons and do well in life. How a leader deals with circumstances of like, tells you many things about their character. Crisis does not necessarily make character, but it certainly reveals it. Adversity is a crossroad that makes a person choose one of two paths: character or compromise. Every time one chooses character, they become stronger, even if that choice brings negative consequences.

Below is an excerpt from the book titled, “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader” by one of my favorite authors John C. Maxwell.

Character Is More Than Talk

Anyone can say that they have integrity, but action is the real indicator of character. Your character determines who you are. Who you are determines what you see. What you see determines what you do.

Talent Is a Gift, but Character is a Choice

We have no control over a lot of things in life. We do not get to choose our parents. We do not select the location or circumstances of our birth and upbringing. We do not get to pick our talents or IQ, but we do choose our character. In fact, we create it every time we make choices—to cop out or dig out of a hard situation, to bend the truth or stand under the weight of it, or to take the easy money or pay the price.

Character Brings Lasting Success with People

True leadership always involves other people. As the leadership proverb says, if you think you are leading and no one is following you, then you are only taking a walk. Followers do not trust leaders whose character they know to be flawed and they will not continue to following them.

Leaders Cannot Rise Above the Limitations of Their Character

Have you ever seen highly talented people suddenly fall apart when they achieved a certain level of success? The key to this phenomenon is character. People who achieve great heights but lack the bedrock character to sustain them through the stress are headed for disaster. These types of people are destined for arrogance, feelings of aloneness, and or destructive adventure-seeking.

A man took his young daughter to a carnival and she immediately ran over to a booth and asked for cotton candy. As the attendant handed her a huge ball of it, the father asked, “Sweetheart, are you sure you can eat all that?

Don’t worry, Dad” she answered, “I’m a lot bigger on the inside than on the outside.” 

That’s what real character is—be bigger on the inside.

Always strive to be a person who seeks respect, honesty and the type of character others feel compelled to follow.