By definition, character is considered the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
Like moral or ethical qualities. Honesty, courage, integrity and the like. An accounting of the qualities – and peculiarities – of a person.
Characteristics that may be readily recognized in you – or – will come to be identified as you.
What can initially set you apart from others – but may well serve as an essential, positive and lasting connection to them as well.
As such, character is more than what or how you are, or even how you are being defined by others.
It is more about how you go about defining yourself.
By the choices you have made, are making now and will make tomorrow.
Such as those made when faced with adversity. Or the ones when blessed with abundant success. And even those seemingly throw away ones made during those long stretches of “the same old same old.”
You see, character isn’t an amenity.
Or an accessory.
Something that is stowed away. Reserved for a special occasion. To be put on display when the time is right and the audience ample.
Character is intended to be active endeavor. Fully employed and engaged.
Just as you are meant to pursue all other things of value. Now. In this moment.
Character in action is brand of leadership borne from within.
As Fenwick English remarked: “ The first act of leadership is coming to grips with yourself, who you are, where you are, and what is of value to you, and shaping yourself by acts of conscious will into what you want to become”
This requires intention.
To be able to breathe life into the aggregate of those traits and qualities. To cast your impression on what is of value. To shape yourself into what are meant to become by making a difference in the world around you.
Character – fully employed, engaged and in action – honors the best that is within all. And in so doing, character cannot help but create pull.
Character generates gravity. Others will be drawn into your orbit.
The genesis of an intensely personal brand of leadership that begins at first with you, then ripples outward, leading others to choose the same for themselves.
As George Washington Carver once said: “When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”
This seemingly common man knew a little something about uncommon character.
Though he was born into slavery in Diamond, Missouri, shortly before the end of the Civil War, George Washington Carver broke the shackles of societal ignorance, misconceptions and limitations, to unleash his uncommon talent and potential on common agriculture to become one of the most prominent scientists and inventors of his time. *
His aspirations were not limited to the pursuit of scientific knowledge alone. Mr. Carver also chose to fully employ and engage his character into other aspects of life, distinguishing himself as a mentor.
As concerned with his students’ character development as he was with their intellectual growth, Mr. Carver became known for a list of eight cardinal virtues he compiled for his charges:
- Be clean both inside and out.
- Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.
- Lose, if need be, without squealing.
- Win without bragging.
- Always be considerate of women, children, and older people.
- Be too brave to lie.
- Be too generous to cheat.
- Take your share of the world and let others take theirs. **
The aggregate of the common features and traits that formed this individual’s uncommon nature.
His exemplary moral or ethical qualities. Honesty, steadfast courage and integrity.
An accounting of the qualities of a man that had to come to grips with himself.
A person that not only knew who and where he was, but what was of true lasting value to him – and those around him.
A person that could have allowed himself to conform to other’s definitions, but instead shaped himself through conscious acts, willing himself to become what he knew he could always be.
True character in action – fully employed and engaged.
In pursuit of all things of value – now.
Character for his sake – and – character to be shared for the benefit of all.
His enduring way of exerting true leadership from within.
Commanding the attention of the world.