Exploring Human Potential

7 & 7: Character vs. Reputation


Character building is a lifelong pursuit, the creation of self in pursuit of your full potential. It is effected by those who bear us and reinforced by how they raise us. Its formation should be judged within the context of our times and the events surrounding us. Storms create and reflect our character. Character is about our finer features, those that will be remembered for all time. Reputations, in contrast, come and go and are the work of other persons, opinions that will vary with the winds. Take care then in adjustments made to win the favor of others. Such compromises made may enhance your reputation by sending into decline your character. And avoid doing things you would be embarrassed for others to know you did. Wish only to be who you are. That is enough if you live it fully. Character does not rely on success. It is more fundamental, preceding and outlasting all rewards. It is what your name stands for, and when lost is hard to recover. Keep your head about you. Trust yourself. Be patient. Avoid lies and hatred. Dream but not too much. Think but not all the time. Embrace good times and bad without overreacting to either. Take risks when they are called for. Stand out in a crowd without looking down on others. Don’t be afraid to touch. Be firm in your convictions. Do what’s right. Know what’s right. Believe in others but do not bend to others who threaten or bully. See the earth. Walk the earth. Be yourself.

Character building begins in our infancy, and continues until death.
Eleanor Roosevelt It is always wise, as it is also fair, to test a man by the standards of his own day, and not by those of another
Odell Shepard

Talents are best nurtured in solitude: character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.

Character is what God and the angels know of us; reputation is what men and women think of us.
Horace Mann

If I trim myself to suit others I will soon whittle myself away.

If you don’t want anyone to know it, don’t do it.
Chinese proverb

Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.
St. Francis de Sales

Character is that which can do without success.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have regard for your name, since it will remain for you longer than a great store of gold.
Ecclesiasticus 42:12

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you:
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hatred
And yet don’t look too good nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think, and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two imposters just the same,
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss…
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
Rudyard Kipling

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