7 Pillars of Character Power
Bill Cottringer

“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.”
~ John Wooden.

1. Openness.

I once commented on the importance of having an open mind to a dear, longtime friend of mine, when we were seriously discussing our personal development journeys. His quick retort to me was, “If you don’t have an open mind, are you sure you have one?” To go along with this, my friend gave me his favorite saying by George Moore, carved n a small stone, “The difficulty in life is the choice.” A strong case can be made that a primary purpose for all of us here, is to learn, grow and improve into our best selves. To do this requires having an open mind to accept different perspectives, beliefs, and values from what we already have stored in our minds from our own experiences, learning, and social conditioning. A closed mind is begging to be opened.

2. Resilience.

Life is full of perpetual problems, conflicts, challenges, and adversity to test the strength of our character. Surviving the stress from these things, requires the tenacity and perseverance that builds the courage to overcome the fear of confronting these situations, so we can get to the other side, whole, are at least without too much bleeding and bruising. There are two keys here: (a) the more you push yourself through such stress, the more resilience you have for the next time, which we all know will come, usually with more vengeance to see if we know what we are talking about, and (b) it is always a good idea to become sensitive to the point of no return and know the few things to quit and the many to persevere through, with a do or die attitude.

3. Mindfulness.

Manfulness, or meditating to allow your mind to stop wandering with thoughts so you can be more present in the moment, is as old as Methuselah. Since we normally spend nearly half our waking moments thinking about everything other than what we are presently doing, mindfulness is an excellent source of character power. When you train yourself to focus less on the past or drifting off into the future, and more on the present moment, you start noticing important things that you have been failing to notice before with mindlessness. New knowledge can often lead to more successful outcomes in what you are trying to do. By the way, mindfulness is the only way to find your free will, apart from all that holds it hostage. You can test that reality with your next choice.

4. Emotional Intelligence.

Building your emotional intelligence—by increasing your self-awareness, emotional regulation, empathy, intrinsic motivation, and social skills—is the best way to supplement the lack of IQ points, when you re not blessed to being smart, intellectually. But even when you have a high IQ, the addition of extra EQ points, helps you become super smart, so this character power source is a no-brainer. Emotional intelligence grows most when you use mindfulness to notice how negative affect can get in the way of getting along with others. It also helps you build a better communication style with your likeability—by conveying a more supportive tone with honesty, empathy, optimism, acceptance, agreeability, and equality and practicing the most important communication skill of all, active listening with both ears as to what is said or not said, and what is said and how t it is said.

5. Authenticity

Authenticity emerges from your efforts to close the gap between who you really are and who people think you are. Since perceptions are people’s reality, it is important for you and your character shadow to be close. Authentic people have purpose and passion and live their lives around the core values they can’t live without, which have survived with the truth and time tests. Authenticity is increased as you gradually get to know your true self, through emotional intelligence and mindfulness, and start acting like the person you have been pretending to be all along. Your authentic realness, when you have it, is something others recognize immediately, from the trust they feel.

6. Integrity

You have integrity when all your moving character parts are synchronized and working together in harmony—consistent and reliable morality, ethics, honesty, hope and trust. Of course, all these moving parts are built upon a preferred positive perspective, being that other people are driven to learn, grow and improve into their best selves, sometimes wandering off the right path and taking detours, and needing a little kind help and encouragement. Without embracing this assumption with hope and confidence, trust is difficult to give or receive. Yes, this takes a leap of faith, but it always seems to get better results than being negative, hopeless, or cynical.

7. Purpose

We are all born with a unique purpose in life and the sooner we discover ours, the more we will enjoy the meaning of our lives. The difficulty in finding our purpose is that it is too close to see clearly, being hidden under our skin. The obscure often takes time to see, but the obvious even longer. Sometimes it is helpful to pause briefly to notice where your feet are pointing from last your previous footsteps, because as it turns out, we are often three-fourths to where we are going before we realize where this is. Fortunately, all these previous sources of character power, when developed and practiced, can help you find and live your purpose, which in turn will increase your character power.

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”
~August Wilson.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is retired Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Thoughts on Happiness; Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.) Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away (Another Dog’s Tale). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (206)-914-1863 or ckuretdoc.comcast.net.