It is our roots that help us to stand tall in life. The depth of our character is not found in our actions (these are merely the evidence of our character).
True character begins deep down in the depths of our very heart and soul. Our attitudes, thoughts, and actions flow from our inner character.
Character is what we use to stand or fall in all of life’s trials and tribulations.
People of good character will always seek the best outcomes possible for those around them – this doesn’t mean that they act to please people, rather it means they will continue to make the kindest decisions possible for all concerned.
In your own journey of personal development, develop your character above all else.
I have been considering lately the idea of ‘peace in a storm’. It’s a well known thought that the ‘eye of the storm’ is the most peaceful part of a tornado. While the tornado rages it’s centre is a place of calm. Chaos is external, while calm is internal.
With a little self-awareness and the development of personal self-control it is possible to maintain a place of calm when your life feels like a storm. It is possible to develop skills of peacefulness to navigate life’s hard times. Everyone has hard times at some point (you never really know the burdens another human carries).
Staying calm requires a level of emotional intelligence, as well as intentional emotional regulation. Stop for a moment and just be still: what are you feeling right now? Stress, joy, anger, frustration? All of them? None of them? Taking time to stop and notice our thoughts and feelings regularly will help us to develop the self-awareness required to maintain a centre of calm within ourselves.
But staying calm is not just about how we are internally: it is also about how we conduct ourselves externally. What comes out of us is what is first of all within us. If you have anger locked up within you, it will find a way out. If there is joy within you it will find a way of bubbling over into everyday life.
Emotions within are manifest in the actions out with our inner selves. It is important to process our feelings and thoughts so that we can deal with them in emotionally and behaviourally healthy ways. If we do not process what’s on the inside it will negatively impact our lives, decisions and relationships. Better to control the process internally than to have outbursts regularly. That’s not to say we are always in control – no one is – we get sad, angry, frustrated. The trick is to acknowledge the feelings for the reality they bring, and then decide how to act in response to those feelings.
Of course, every human being has at some point an emotional bucket that overflows in anger, sadness, and a spectrum of other emotions. That’s okay. Cut yourself some slack. The trick is to reduce the frequency of overflow and to grow awareness and skills that positively release those emotions towards resolutions.
Whatever you are going through right now, may you have the time to stop and acknowledge how you are feeling and thinking, and may you intentionally decide how they will externally impact your life in the most positive manner possible.
It is easy to do the expected thing, the usual thing, the normal thing. We are often encouraged not to dream, not to dare, and not to move in the direction of our dreams.
Dreamers are thought to be time wasters, lazy, or having their head in the clouds. This is as far from the truth as it is possible to be. Every great novel, poem, work of art, film, and invention started as a thought, a daydream or a silly notion. The creators of all these things had something in common: they all moved in the direction of their dreams!
Think of Martin Luther King crying out ‘I have a dream’. His dream became a movement that has transformed much of the world for the better.
Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, only to come back and transform how we use mobile technology.
What might we achieve if we were to really move in the direction of our dreams? What decisions would you need to make to align your reality to your dreams? What changes would you make to your life?
To move in the direction of your dreams you might need to silence your internal negative chatterbox in your head. You might need to spend less time listening to the naysayers in your life who tell you to just stop dreaming. Let me encourage you to never stop dreaming: our world is the product of a million dreams come true!
Today I dare you to move in the direction of your dreams! You may find that following your dreams fills your life with more joy. You may notice you feel more hopeful. And you may find that you live with a deeper sense of personal purpose. We gave wine life and it really dies matter, so make it count in whatever ways you dream it should. And as you do…
There is a lie we believe about joy. We are told or taught, or somehow come to believe that joy is based solely on our circumstances. I don’t know where this notion comes from, but I know it’s not true in the experiences of many people.
Watch any movie and you will notice moments of joy even in hard times.
Think about the great novels: there are moments of deep human connection, descriptions of beauty, and glimpses of grace that make us smile and warm our hearts as we turn the pages.
It is even said of Jesus that because of the joy set before him he endured the cross. That’s a strong statement – there is an endurance that leads to joy. Like many songs, The best is yet to come by Australian band Sheppard testify to this. Sometimes life can be tough, but as we stop to notice the world around us and reflect on its beauty we can experience joy on the journey. During every war the sun rises and sets on each day, bracketing the war zone in glorious light and shades of beauty. I believe some of us need to hear that right now.
Finding joy is not dependent upon our circumstances. It is dependent upon our CHOICES.
Will we choose to find joy despite our circumstances?
This is an important question, and your answer will either help or hinder your journey.
I recently went to Holy Island off the coast of Northumberland. As I walked with my family we arrived at a beautiful pebble beach. All along the beach there were beautiful pebble towers
I instantly began looking for the tallest tower. And then began to build my tallest tower.
Why do we feel the need to build?
I built my tower, and sat to enjoy the fruit of my labour. As I looked I found myself realising that my tower would be knocked down. This fragile cairn of stone would become rubble. I picked up a stone and looked at it. I saw beauty in that single stone. I didn’t need to build because beauty was already intrinsically present on that pebble beach.
Why do we find it hard to accept the value of who we are in our own right?
Today as I write, thousands of young people are receiving GSCE exam results. They will experience many thoughts and a range of positive and negative emotions. People will give them verbal and nonverbal messages about their sense of value, identity and belonging in the world based upon their level of achievement.
I would love to let you know this:
Your value and identity are not based on your achievements – they are based on the beautiful human being that you already are.
It is good to build a secure life through achievements and hard work, but the results should not define you.
Be defined by the love you feel from people who accept you unconditionally.
Be defined by the character of your heart.
Define your value by the love and warmth you share with others.
Determine your own value through how you hold your head up high, and how you view yourself.
We are all like my pebble on the beach: People will try to put you into their category; their box; their view of you.
Your value, beauty and sense of worth are already present in who you are. Be encouraged that as a unique and wonderful human being you will make your mark on the world in your own way.
What we do is the overflow of who we are. Be the best YOU that you can possibly be. Hold your head up high and know that today you are heading into the world to show them who you are, not who they think you are.