Most people have a character flaw. The rest of us are probably just liars.
One flaw many people have is thinking they get to choose their character. Then, they are offended when people don't see them as they see themselves. In order to look at this issue, we have to understand the difference between ethics an morals.
Ethics can be defined as the determination of right an wrong in a social context. Ethical positions are dependent on a consensus of other individuals for definition.
Morals can be defined as the determination of right and wrong on an individual level. It is a determination defined by internal beliefs and standards. The word "morals" comes from the Latin word for custom. It refers to what we individually do. Another way to express it would be with the word "habits".
Ethics on the other hand comes from the Greek word for character. It is the same word used for an individual in reality or as a part in a play. There is no differentiation. A character in a play is defined by how their actions on stage are perceived by the audience. Likewise, an individual's character is defined by how others perceive their actions.
You DO NOT get to choose your character! You do get to choose your habits. It is critical to understand this reality. Your character is defined by how your habits are socially perceived by others.
To change your character, you must first change your habits. It takes time to form new habits. They are adopted through repeated impressions of an activity that occur over time. It takes even longer for your habits to be recognized by others and credited towards your character.
When people are attempting to "turn their life around," they often become easily frustrated if they don't understand this reality. It can feel that they have initiated an exercise in futility because their habits have changed, but no one has recognized them. They become frustrated and give up.
The character flaw most of us exhibit is that we are unwilling to hold true to a positive habit change long enough for it to be perceived by others as our character. We become discouraged and slump back into our old habits. Thus, we often feel we are constantly making efforts to improve, but are experiencing little life change.
Perseverance and consistency are the keys to character development. They enable us to hold to a newly developed habit long enough for it to be socially perceived as our character. They unlock the door to expanded opportunities when others perceive we are becoming more valuable as individuals.
You don't get to choose your character. You do get to choose your habits. Choose well! Your choices will determine your character and the opportunities you get in life!
Coaching and training is available. Contact Warren Martin for more information.
About Warren Martin
WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...