I’ve been thinking about the word “character” a fair bit over the past weeks. So, I decided to dig in to begin to understand what the word really means.
Character is defined as a set of mental and moral qualities that are distinctive to an individual. Stephen Covey said that our character is a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly express our character.
My synthesis is that our character is how we solve problems and face adversity. How we solve problems and face adversity, in turn, is the truest demonstration of our motives and values and how we reconcile the inevitable conflicts between them.
To understand Covey’s observation on how we express our character, we must understand Anton Chekov. Chekov wisely observed – Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out, i.e., there are few harder problems out there than living an intentional life day-to-day.
That’s why our approach to living out our days (i.e. our daily habits) is a great reflection of our character.
Our character is how we think because how we think demonstrates our mental and moral qualities. And, how we think manifests itself in what we do.
Made me wonder – if I looked at my daily habits, what would I learn about my character? (i.e. my character as it is versus what I think it to be)