A life lesson from the King of golf…

October 20, 2016

arnold-palmerArnold Palmer was called the King of golf because of his key role in making golf successful in the 1960’s and establishing it on TV. Palmer was followed on the golf course by his army and was the first great athletic hero of the Television Era. Palmer passed away this year at age 87.

 Palmer was extensively quoted during his life and Jack Freed used on of his quotes in a recent blog post to his blog Jack’s Winning Words.

“Success in golf depends less on strength of body than on strength of mind and character.”  (Arnold Palmer)

I would submit that Arnie’s saying is good advice for life in general. Success in life is not about physical things, such as strength or beauty; it’s much more about the strength of one’s mind and character. We’ve probably all known someone who was very beautiful or handsome in their looks but totally insecure and perhaps shy or withdrawn. Certainly most of us have seen many examples of very strong or athletically-gifted people whoGandhi failed in life, due to severe character flaws. Certainly Mahatma Gandhi was not strong of body ans not all that good looking, but he had tremendous strength of character and mind and was wildly successful in his efforts to free India from Colonial oppression.

Dicionary.com defines character as –

the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.

So, character is what makes you unique; and your character can be viewed as having good or bad traits or features. You might be described as kind, gentle and loving or perhaps arrogant, loud and self-absorbed. You could be seen by others as a saint or a sinner, a winner or a loser, or trustworthy or flaky.

Likman lifting weightse lifting weights to build strength, there are things that we can do to improve our minds through training and education. We can be more ready for things that may come at us in life. We can also strengthen our characters.The key to developing and having a strong character, to my way of thinking, is to base your character on a strong foundation of faith and belief. Character built on the teachings of Jesus will make you stop before acting and consider what the “right” thing to do is in the situation. A mind trained the teachings of the Good News makes decisions based upon asking the simple question that has been printed on millions of posters and bracelets – “What would Jesus WWJDDo?” If you can’t see Jesus going down the path that you are about to take; why would you go down that path yourself?

Many might say, “Jesus was perfect; why should I hold myself up to a standard that I can never achieve?” The answer is found in the benefits that accrue when you continue striving towards that image of perfection. A better question for us to ask ourselves might be, “If I understand what the right thing to do is, why would I do the wrong thing.” Doing the right things is both based upon and further adds strength to your character. It gives your mind a stronger base upon which to make life decisions. Conducting your life, based upon a strong character and a mind rooted in faith and belief gives us integrity, which is the right path to true success in life.walking man

Proverbs 28:6 – “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.”

Face the day and the rest of the week with strength of character and mind. Peace be with you.

Are you a character or do you have character?

December 2, 2015

Character is an interesting topic to discuss. It is essentially an internal trait that manifests itself in the eyes of others in the form of reputation.  Abraham Lincoln put it this way –

“Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.”

antSome people get reputations that are good. Others may use terms to describe these people such as dependable, reliable, hard-working, concerned, compassionate and on and on. That’s having a good reputation based upon good character. For others the resulting reputation is not so great. Terms used tolazy describe them may include lazy, undependable, a no-show, flaky, self-centered, selfish or diva.

So, while character and reputation oft go hand-in-hand; sometimes people may just misunderstand your actions or lack of action. You may get an undeserved reputation and you sometimes just have to let some of that run off your back. There is an old say that you need to be true to yourself. You know what’s in your heart, even if it never makes it out onto your sleeve.

John Wooden had a good take on the character/reputation duality –

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

You often hear that character is built through hard work or that it comes out of dealing with adversity. Hard work is also what shows off your character –

“Hard work spotlights the character of people: Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don’t turn up at all.”  (Sam Ewing – baseball player) – seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words Blog.

If you don’t show up at all or turn up your nose at hard work you soon gain a reputation as being a “fair weather friend” or maybe no friend at all. You become a character, rather than someone with character

helping upThen there is the side of your character that begets a reputation for being a genuinely good person, someone who cares and acts out of that compassion; someone who is not just focused upon things and people who can advance their own cause; someone who does not take advantage just because the opportunity presents itself. Abigail Van Buren (of Dear Abbey fame) put it this way –

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

So; what do people think of you? Do they see you as a person of good character or just as a character? Do they see a person who works hard or a person who hardy works? Do they see your shadow or the strong, dependable truck of your tree?  Do you turn up your sleeves and jump in to help or jump back and turn up your nose; or do you just not turn up at all. It’s your character and your reputation and both are up to you. John C. Geikie put it this way

Our character is but the stamp on our souls of the free choices of good and evil we have made through life.”

Perhaps the stamps that we collect on our souls are like the hand stamps passed stampthat you get at an event venue when you leave and want to re-enter; only, in this case, we’re not trying to get back in to this venue, but to get to another, much bigger and better venue; one that we will stay in forever. So, we’d better make sure that we make the right choices and collect the right stamps on our souls. Don’t be a character; develop good character.

Have a great, character building rest of the week.