Saturday, 6 February 2016

Character & Integrity

Two major components of your own personal excellence are character and integrity. Character refers to the traits that determine who you are at a core level. Integrity reveals the values you live your life by. Character is often said to be “what you do when you think no one is watching”.  What a revealing little statement that is!  Most of us have done things we’re not proud of; things we hope don’t come back to haunt us later.

These events usually take place in our younger years, when we’re still trying to figure out who we are. Once we know who we are (or decide who we want to be), we begin to understand that we are largely a product of our actions. Positive actions make us a “good person,” and a valuable member of society. Negative actions reveal a cruel, selfish or undeveloped character.Your character will directly affect your personal excellence in powerful ways.

How?  If excellence is all about throwing your whole self into whatever you do, shouldn’t your “whole self” be a person of great value?

Remember, your character is determined by your actions.  If you consistently cheat, steal and lie to others, your inner self is diminished and therefore largely ineffective.  On the other hand, if you strive to serve others, contribute something of value to others and the world, your inner self will grow and expand into something far more pervasive than you can imagine.

Then, when you throw your whole self into whatever you do, you are throwing a “bigger and better self” into the process, and your results will be that much more powerful.

Here’s how to build your character in life-changing ways:

Be the best “YOU” that you can be.  Don’t try to emulate others, but instead look within and bring out the very best parts of yourself that are unique and special.

Strengthen and develop the best parts of yourself until they are all-pervasive.  Let them take over your personality, your work, your relationships – and every aspect of your life.  Let them become the largest parts of yourself.

Share the best parts of yourself with others.  Share your strengths, your ideals, your vision, your power.  Be willing to show others who you truly are, and you will become a powerful magnet for like-minded people.

Focus on what you can do for others, rather than what you stand to gain from others.  Ironically, a focus on giving will also increase the amount and magnitude of what you receive.  Again, don’t focus on that; just focus on contributing immense value to other people and the world in general.

Do only that which you can be proud of.  Remember, character is revealed by what you do when you think no one is watching.  A good  way to keep this in perspective is to imagine a hidden camera trained on you at all times.  If you would feel ashamed or guilty about an activity you’re considering – it’s a sure bet that it will detract from your character rather than adding to it.

The Value of Integrity Integrity is all about the values by which you live your life.  A person of great character usually has a strong sense of integrity, while a person of  negligible character has less (or no) integrity.

What are these values?  For the purposes of this article, value is defined as “the relative worth or importance of something”. Whatever traits or characteristics you consider to be very important or valuable are your personal “values”.

Common values that you may hold:

Honesty
Compassion
Fairness
Kindness
Respect

Integrity is simply adherence to your own code of values.  That means being loyal to your own ideas of how things should be in your world.  If honesty is one of your values, you would never dream of trying to cheat someone.  You simply wouldn’t be able to justify such an action in your own mind.

If you did try to side-step your values, you’d feel so uncomfortable that you wouldn’t be able to stand it.  The guilt and shame would eat at you until you did what you could to make the situation right again.Take a few moments right now and consider your own values.

What is very important to you regarding your own behaviour and the behaviour of others?  Write down anything that comes to mind so you can explore these thoughts in greater detail later. Even if you don’t know why you feel strongly about a particular value, write it down anyway.  As you explore your values, you’ll
realize that underlying motives can vary widely and that’s perfectly okay.

The main thing is to understand why your values are important to you. You may be surprised to learn that many of your values were formed as a result of your past experiences.  For example, you may have been cheated or lied to by someone you trusted, and the experience was so painful that you vowed never to do such a thing to someone else.

Voila, your value of honesty was born.If you were verbally abused or belittled when you were a child, you may now hold a value of kindness and compassion for whomever you meet. Once you have your list of values, compare them with your most common actions. Do you ever do things that are in opposition to your values?  If you do, you’ll quickly understand why this limits your personal excellence.

The feelings of guilt, shame, fear and embarrassment will consistently interfere with everything you do and diminish any sense of satisfaction you would have gained from your activities.You can also question and adjust your values as needed; especially if you formed your values (as a result of childhood conditioning) that are not serving you now.  A good example is the child who is conditioned to believe that money is the root of all evil and selfless service is God-like behaviour.

This child will likely grow into an adult who resists having any more money than necessary and struggles financially all of her life.Questioning and challenging (and ultimately changing) such a value will create a greater sense of empowerment and purpose in her life, rather than blindly living by someone else’s values.

A strict adherence to your values makes for an incredible experience, provided they are values that serve your highest good and the highest good of others.   Not only are you able to feel good about your day-to-day actions, you are able to keep growing and developing as a person. In other words, expanding your personal excellence!

If your life has been blessed by this article please, share with others. Who knows you may encourage a soul by doing so? You are blessed in Jesus name.