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Ombuds’ Insight: Steps to building your character

by Tony Belak, University of Louisville ombuds last modified Mar 20, 2012 10:51 AM

It is becoming less common to meet and speak with someone having character, but it is still something special to be around someone who does have it.

Ombuds’ Insight: Steps to building your character

Tony Belak

Character: any distinctive mark; an essential feature; nature; the total of qualities making up an individuality; moral excellence.

Do it even if it is difficult. “That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do. Not that the nature of the thing has changed but the power to do it has changed.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, author

Take responsibility for your choices, your actions, and your consequences. What does it mean to be a proactive person? It simply means, it’s not what happens to you, but your response to what happens to you. It’s how you choose to handle “it” that hurts you or helps you. You have the choice to take responsibility for your own life. “Response-ability”: the ability to choose your response.

Know why you do what you do. “Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than you imagine.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet and philosopher

Be honest and be true to your word, both with yourself and with others. Goodness is a special kind of truth and beauty. It is truth and beauty in human behavior.

Know your strengths and work with them. Know your weaknesses even better and avoid feeding into them. The cyclone derives its power from a calm center; so does a person.

Recognize your choices and use them wisely. Indifference cannot support or maintain the energy necessary for conflict.

Develop self-discipline and know how not to overdo it. “Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” Nathaniel Hawthorne, author

Develop the ability to luxuriate, know when it’s time to stop and be able to stop. Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. Ovid

Know the difference between what you want and what you need. I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

Recognize and respect boundaries. Be clear about your own and give equal value and weight to those of others. “Let us consider an alternative style of thinking, which we can call ‘creative thinking.’ It is playfully instructive to note that the word ‘reactive’ and the word ‘creative’ are made up of exactly the same letters. The only difference between the two is that you ‘C’ [see] differently.” John Quincy Adams, U.S. president

 

 

 

 

 

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