Developing A Great Character
A person's character is the degree to which they live their life consistent with high, life-enhancing values. A person who lacks character is one who compromises on higher order values in favor of lower order expedience, or who has no values at all.
Your adherence to what you believe to be right and true is the real measure of the person you have become to this moment. Think about it. How would someone describe your character?
Define What "Excellence" Means to You
Let us say that one of your values is "excellence." Your definition of excellence could be, "Excellence means that I set the highest standards for myself in everything I do. I do my very best in every situation and under all circumstances. I constantly strive to be better in my work, and as a person in my relationships. I recognize that excellence is a life-long journey and I work every day to become better and better in everything I do."
Organize Your Actions
With a definition like this, you have a clear organizing principle for your actions. You have set a standard by which you can evaluate your behavior. You have created a framework within which you can make decisions. You have a measuring rod against which you can compare yourself in everything you do. You can continually grade your activities in terms of "more" or "less." You have a clear target to aim at and organize your work around.
Decide What You Want for Your Family
It's the same with each of your other values. If your value is your family, you could define this as, "The needs of my family take precedence over all other concerns. Whenever I have to choose between the happiness, health and well being of a member of my family, and any other interest, my family will always come first."
From that moment onward, it becomes easier for you to choose. Your family comes first. Until you have fully satisfied the needs of your family, no other time requirement will side track you into a lower value activity.
Shape Your Own Character
The wonderful thing about values clarification is that it enables you to take charge of developing and shaping your own character. When your values and goals, your inner life and your outer life, are in complete alignment, you feel terrific about yourself. You enjoy high self-esteem. Your self-confidence soars.
When you achieve complete congruence between your values and your goals, like a hand in a glove, you feel strong, happy, healthy and fully integrated as a person. You develop a kind of courage that makes you completely unafraid to make decisions and take action. Your whole life improves when you begin living your life by the values that you most admire.
Here are two things you can do to put this ideas into action immediately.
First, create a clear, written description of your values and what they mean to you. From that point on, resolve to live consistent with your own definition.
Second, discipline yourself to live in complete alignment with the values, virtues and qualities that are most important to you. This is the key to character.