Introduction

Prepare to be

We should be doing everything we can to take the most of opportunities that have been given to us.

Don't fight to have

Beware: The stuff that really matters can be buried under everything else.

Don't fight to have, prepare to be

(Cinderella’s image when the clock ticks midnight) You realize what you’ve got become less important than what you are.

Character

Character, Leadership, The quality to inspire yourself, that qualifies you. That makes you worthy to leader others.

Character

One of the sharpest distinction between people is the small percent that look up words in the dictionary, and the overwhelming majority that don't.

Charisma: an ability to elicit favor in other people.
It’s a magnetic quality of personality that people respond to as if it were magic. Charisma is almost like a magic wand that confers power over others.

Character comes from a Greek word meaning “chisel,” or “the mark left by a chisel.” Of course, a chisel is a sharp steel tool used for making a sculpture out of a hard or difficult material, like granite or marble.

And a chisel is also used for scraping away waste material from an object.
Scraping away stuff that might get in the way,
In order to get down to the essential thing,
The things that really matters.

Character isn’t a magic wand.

You’ve got to chisel your character out of the raw material of yourself just like a sculptor has to create a statue. The raw material is always there, and everything that happens to you, good or bad, is an opportunity for building your character.


Character doesn’t refer to other people.
Character is something that you have and something that you are.
You could be marooned on a desert island and your character would still be important–in fact, it would likely be very important in that situation–but charisma wouldn’t do you any good at all.
Charisma requires the presence of others, while character is all about you.

Character is the person you are after you’ve chiseled and chiseled and have gotten past all the unnecessary material to what’s underneath.

A person of character doesn’t need to be anyone’s Pied Piper. Instead, he or she looks within for the true source of inspiration and energy.

It’s an attribute of character for a leader to refrain from making himself or herself the indispensable heart and soul of an organization.


Charismatic people have to keep pulling rabbits out of the hat.
The magic of their presence has got to keep expressing itself, or people start getting bored.

Eisenhower: “An army is like this piece of string,” he said. “If you try to push it from behind, it just tangles and doubles back on itself. Soldiers have to be led from the front, not pushed from behind.”

People of character are usually well-loved by everyone around them, but they make it clear that their own first love is for the truth, even if it hurts.

300 years after Alexander, Jesus Christ began to preach. Instead of an army, he had 12 men. Others tried to say he was a God, but he never said so himself. He didn't own a horse. He never founded a city. When he died, there was no golden purse.
Yet the force of his character had endured and grown.
Character is what's left after Charisma is gone.


Creating a character is like an artist creating a sculpture.
Character is not something that happens by itself. Anymore than a chisel can create a piece of art without the hand of an artist guiding it.
In both instances, a conscious decision has been made.

Character is the result of hundreds and hundreds choices you may make, that gradually turn who you are at any given moment, and to who you want to be.
If that decision is not present, you'll still be somebody, you'll still be alive, but may have a personality rather than a character.


Like the settlers, who believed in our fundamental individual freedom, and the idea that if there's something better at the end of the rainbow, we have a responsibility to take advantage of it.

Character is not something you were born with, and something you can't change like your fingerprints. But you must take responsibility for making it.

You can create a better life for yourself by crossing the mountains of your soul.


I don't think adversity by itself build a character, and I certainly don't think that success erodes it.
You can build character by how you respond to what happens in your life, winning or losing. Getting rich, or dealing with hard time.
You build character out of certain qualities that you must create, and diligently nurture within yourself.
Just like you would plant and water a seed, or gather wood and light a camp fire.
You've got to look for those things in your heart and in your guts. You've got to chisel away in order to find them. Just like chiseling away rock in order to create the sculpture, that has previously existed only in your imagination.

The really amazing thing about character is, if you're sincerely committed to making yourself the person you want to be, you'll not only create those qualities, you'll strengthen them.
Like the burning bush in the biblical book of exodus. It burns but not consumed by the flames. Character sustains itself, and nurture itelf, even as it's being put to work, and tested, and challenged.


Courage

The basic of all achievement: The quality of courage.

Book that tells the story of all the winners of congressional medal of honor.
It will bring tears to your eyes. One of the most powerful document ever written.

One after another who put aside all thoughts of safety.
When you read their exploits, your realize that these were people who simply lost their fears of death in order to do what had to be done.

Aristotle: "A truly courageous person is not someone who never feels fear, but who fears the right thing, at the right time, in the right way."

Fears (finance, health…)
If we look a little deeper, we’ll see that what really scares people about these situations is the sense that they’re going to be helpless.
But remember, you’re never really helpless. And the sense that you are helpless, is what we really ought to be afraid of.
You’re never just a victim of circumstances.
No matter what happens, you’re never without options that can get you back on track.
It takes courage to recognize that, because it means accepting responsibility for your own future.
I would suggest that we should accept that responsibility.
No one is really going to accept it for us, no matter what we may have been led to believe.

Let me emphasize that underlying most fear is the fear of helplessness, of being victimized, of being blown around by the winds of fate like a leaf is blown off a tree.
It sounds to me like being afraid of the dark, in which case the best thing to do is get yourself up out of bed and switch on the light.
In the past fifty years or so, people have come to expect a life without real tough times and real difficulties. But adversity isn’t something to fear, it’s something to expect, something to prepare for, and something to overcome.

The truly courageous person is not immune to fear, but fear plays a different role in his or her life than it does for other people.
If you ‘re a courageous person, your fears aren’t about what someone might do to you. Your fears aren’t about something that might happen to you.
Instead, your fears are about not living up to your ideals, about reacting instead of acting, about not taking advantage of the opportunities that are always within reach.

A truly courageous person fears not making the most of every moment today. A truly courageous person fears the impulse to dominate other people. A truly courageous person leads by helping others to be their best. A truly courageous person fears doing anything that he or his loved ones might be ashamed of.

A truly courageous person fears making appearances more important than realities… making impressions more important than communication… making himself more important than those who are depending on him.

But there’s one thing a courageous person fears most. Have you ever seen a deer caught in the headlights of a car? The way the deer just stands there as though paralyzed, with the car bearing down? The truly courageous person fears ever getting caught like that. A constant part of his or her life is dedicated to making sure it never happens.

In other words, the truly courageous person, as someone once said, fears nothing except fear itself.


Honesty and Integrity

"Say what you mean, mean what you say".
"Do what say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it."
That's integrity.
A clear correspondance between words and deeds.

Don't lie, tell the truth: That's honesty.

Despite the fact that these are some of the clearest most easily recognized elements of strong character, in the real world, they're also some of the most difficult to find.

Before written contracts, lying was a very serious matter, as accusing someone of lying.
It was the best way to provoque a duel (unlike today we call in a lawyer).
Today people lie all the time without thinking about it.