Motivational Monday: Character Part 2

MM: what lies within us

A dear friend gave me a magnet of Emerson’s quote as a high school graduation gift.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have to be honest the quote did not have the same meaning for me then, as it does now.  It tends to bring up more questions.  What is it that we are made of?  What is the driving force behind our actions?  If the mask is removed, are the qualities genuine or for show?

Again we come to the question of character.  Woodrow Wilson said, “If you will think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself.”  Character is a byproduct of your actions, which comes from what lies within you.  Wilson also continues to say how developing character is basically a waste of time, but that is where I disagree.  If we are not working on ourselves internally, what are we working on?  Too often that energy is spent instead on trying to impress others.  What is important is what is inside you.

Last week I wrote about Franklin’s 13 Virtues.  I have been reflecting on them daily and thought I would share with you what I have come up with for me personally.  I kept some virtues the same, changed the descriptions of a few, deleted virtues that were not a challenge for me and added others that I think I could improve and grow from within.  I think it can be an evolving list depending where you are in life.

  1. Self-discipline. Overcome weaknesses.  Pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it. Set a good example.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation and gossip.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve; do what’s right.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; delayed gratification, think long-term.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Contentment. Be in a state of happiness and satisfaction.
  9. Admiring. Avoid coveting and jealousy.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Complimentary. Avoid being judgmental; praise others and self for successes.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Shakti/Bhakti Yogi.

Did you make your own list?  What does character, or what lies within mean to you?

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