When your team has had a challenging or even winless season, it is not uncommon to hear, “It builds character.” Does it? Can losing one more close game somehow transform my inner self, my very being, to now be better?
Character has multiple definitions and has been the focus of many quotes and inspirational slogans. Plutarch, an ancient Greek writer, concisely said, “Character is simply habit long continued.” More recently, Stephen Covey expanded that concept saying, “Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.”
A common thread of most character definitions is a repetitive, usually predictable template of behavior. But it goes deeper than just our outward actions. Our North Group Values include, “Being comes before doing,” and one of the ways we endeavor to do this is by “Building Character.”
Our individual character is the culmination of the choices we make in response to the experiences we have. So, each of us have a choice to learn from our daily experiences and circumstances (such as a disappointing loss), to build our character, or not. Three such components of our character include:
- Integrity –being the same person in victory or defeat; being honest, trustworthy; doing what you say you’re going to do
- Humility – being teachable, accountable, and unoffendable
- Intentionality – being thoughtful, purposeful, focused and persistent
Coach John Wooden captured the essence of “being before doing” when he said, “Be more concerned with your character [being] than your reputation [perception of your actions, doing], because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”