Good character” is sometimes defined as “doing what’s right even if no one is watching and you will not be caught.” Your character is what defines most of your choices and decisions. Your character qualities are based on your value system…what you believe to be valuable. Most of us do not know how to consciously develop our character structure. We may want to develop our ability to love, to be honest, to trust, to be courageous, to have a positive attitude etc. However, we may not be aware of how we can go about developing or strengthening personal qualities we desire to enhance our own character.
Here are 18 practical steps you can take to develop any new characteristic you want to incorporate into your personality.
STEP 1. Quiet your mind and still your body. Take 15-30 minutes to imagine, with photographic clarity, the outcome you wish to have manifest in your life. Picture in your mind how you will behave, how you will feel, how you will communicate. Imagine the “what,” “who,” “when,” “where,” and especially “why.” Imagine what character traits you want that will make your desired outcome more likely to be created. Imagine the benefits to you and others of the manifestation of your desired outcome. Make your images “sensory-rich.” This is your first creation.
STEP 2. Write down a detailed description of the nature and quality of your desired outcome and those character qualities that will support its creation…your images in step one. Write them in the present-tense, e.g. “I am teaching with conscious intention.” After you’ve written them down, rewrite them daily. This is your second creation.
STEP 3. Commit your descriptions to memory. Memorize them word-for-word. When you can recite them without pauses, you will know you have programmed the superconscious part of your sub-conscious mind to begin functioning in ways supportive of your creating your desired outcome.
STEP 4. At least twice a day, recite out loud, “It is my intention to create _______” “I am developing within myself the character quality of ________.” Followed by your description of the character trait(s) and outcome you wish to create. This is creating your vision in spoken words (another form of second creation).
STEP 5. Strengthen your intuition by regularly: becoming centered and focused; asking yourself pertinent questions; noticing the first “inklings” or impressions you receive in response to the question (and recording them); interpreting your impressions; and verifying your interpretations/conclusions.
STEP 6. Alone, but preferably with others, brainstorm an ABCD (Actions, Behaviors, Character qualities & Decisions) List. This lists every action, behavior, character traits and decisions you can think of, which will support the manifestation (creation) of your desired outcome. Without judgment, and as fast as you can, write out your ABCD list.
STEP 7. With your ABCD List as a guide, set long-term, short-term, monthly, weekly and daily goals…with deadlines for their attainment.
A long-term goal is 1-5 years away. A short-term goal is 6-months to a year away. Commit yourself to do “whatever it takes for however long it takes” to generate within your character quality, and to complete your desired outcome.
STEP 8. Identify the sources from which to learn. Find someone (coach, business person, artist, athlete, etc.) who has already successfully created the outcome you desire. Secretly resolve to surpass their performance, or attainment of your desired outcome. Become “coachable.” Listen (to understand) a lot more than you speak (reply). Practice what they did. Imitate their methods, until you have mastered them. Thereafter, you can “customize” them to fit your style and personal preferences (and surpass them). Become aware of the knowledge you need. Seek that knowledge out in people, books and learning experiences.
STEP 9. Choose one activity that demonstrates your desired character quality from your ABCD list and practice daily for 21 days. It will be an “automatic” habit by the end of those 3 weeks. Always give 100% of yourself, your focus, your energy, to the practice of a single activity. All new skills are difficult until they become sub-conscious (automatic), then they are “easy.” After 21 days, select a second character habit (and action) you wish to have in place, and practice that one for the next 21 days.
STEP 10. Tell at least one other person (friend, coach, teacher, confidant) of the character habit you are practicing. Ask to be accountable to them for your practice. Maintain a positive mental attitude (PMA)…one of a successful creator of your outcome.
STEP 11. Evaluate the nature of your current condition. Become
aware of your resistance to “own” any negative (self-defeating)
contributions you make to it. Resistance is always fear based. If
you don’t become aware of the things you want to change, you will never discover better alternatives. Learn from your previous and current mistakes.
STEP 12. Become aware of the large discrepancy (gap) between what currently exists and you envisioned-desired outcome. Awareness of the Gap between what is and what you want to create, generates energy.
Focus that energy NOT on “fixing” what already exists. Rather, make a conscious choice to develop a key habit, and use that energy to engage in an action which supports the creation of your desired outcome.
STEP 13. Let yourself experience all the emotions generated by the discrepancy (gap) between what exists now and how desired, envisioned relationship. Avoid engaging in past patterns of reaction. That to which we attend, we energize. Attention strengthens and “grows” that to which we attend. Focus your attention on your key habit and on your creation.
STEP 14. Tolerate the chaos (difficulty and awkwardness) of creating. Keep your envisioned outcome in the forefront of you mind.
Remember: chaos is the context from which creations arise. Only in the chaos and confusion (mistakes) of newly plowed ground, is the earth in the proper state for receiving the seeds of new plants (creations).
STEP 15. Persist in practicing those ABCD’s which you know support your creating your outcome. Master 17 key habits in a year, and you will transform your life. Build long-term relationships…one contact at a time. Be confident, not arrogant. Always look for the “the edge”.
STEP 16. Without judgment or criticism, acknowledge yourself as the source of the new character habit and the resulting outcome, as well as the choices and energy involved. Take 100% responsibility for the creating of your vision. Avoid blame. Take good care of yourself.
STEP 17. Reinforce (strengthen) all key habits, ABCD’s and new experiences with positive attention. The simplest form of positive attention is expressing appreciations (“Thank you for …”). Praise and acknowledgment are other forms of positive attention. Keep an Gratitude Journal and daily make at least five entries.
STEP 18. Regularly acknowledge the teamwork of you and any others, in moving toward the full manifestation of your desired/created outcome.
Take these 18 steps in sequence, and you will make rapid progress down the path (track) toward the realization of any character quality you want to have and any outcome you desire…your creation. Enjoy the journey.
Realize what your shortcomings are and find different ways to improve yourself. Remember a lack of trust is your biggest expense and everything of value is built on trust.