People care so much about their popularity, their appearance, and their status. They care about what people think, whether others approve, and how they measure up. What’s more, people buy things to appear successful and even lower their personal standards to gain acceptance. That’s a hefty price to pay. But how are you viewed by the person you spend the most amount of time with — yourself? What do you deem more important — perception or reality?
We spend so much time worrying about our image, and so little time thinking about who we really are. Are you a good person? Are you proud of the way that you live your life? Would you want to be friends with yourself? Would you be happy if your kids followed in your footsteps?
If we spent more time and effort strengthening our moral character, we wouldn’t have to worry about the impression that we’re making. As John Wooden, the legendary college basketball coach, said, “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
When someone asks you who you’re trying to impress
your answer should always be “myself.”
Why Do We Care What Others Think of Us?
If reality is more important than perception, why don’t folks act that way? People are, by their very nature, social animals. It’s only natural to want to be liked and fit in. Besides, being complimented and comparing favorably to others can do wonders for our confidence and self-esteem. The problem occurs when people become obsessed with being liked; then perception overshadows reality.
In this scenario, appearance is more celebrated than substance, shortcuts are more commonplace than hard work, and doing what’s right gives way to doing what’s easy. In essence, smoke and mirrors outweigh authenticity. Furthermore, when the need for acceptance reigns supreme, you’re giving others control over your life. While you can shape your character, you have limited control over others’ perception of you. So, stay true to yourself.
Your character is in your hands. Your reputation is in the hands of others.
How Strong Are Your Moral Values?
Our moral values serve as guiding forces, shaping our decisions and actions, and ultimately defining the essence of our character. Here are 15 ways to determine the depth of your moral convictions:
- Invest in your future or refuse to make sacrifices?
- Confront your fears or surrender to them?
- Keep your promises or break your commitments?
- Think about others’ needs or make everything all about you?
- Accept accountability or sidestep responsibility?
- Remain true to your values or bend to peer pressure?
- Do what’s right or make exceptions when it’s convenient?
- Set high expectations or settle for good?
- Accept adversity like a champ or feel sorry for yourself?
- Earn your rewards or feel entitled to them?
- Work to make things better or grumble about how things are?
- Appreciate what you have or continually hunger for more?
- Surround yourself with exceptional role models or hang out with negative influencers?
- Define acceptable standards of behavior for yourself or allow others to set them for you?
- Listen to your conscience or fall victim to temptation?
You Are the Author of Your Life Story
Live a life that makes you proud; one in which you begin each day’s journey with a 10-minute walk within your soul. It’s a life in which you hope for the best, try your best, and bring out the best in others. It’s a life in which you reach for the stars and extend your hand to help others in need. It’s a life in which you live with honor and integrity, give more than you take, and care not only about where life is taking you, but about how you’re getting there as well. But most of all, it’s a life in which you earn the trust, respect, and admiration of people, not because you try hard to please them, but because of who you are. What’s more important to you, perception or reality?
Is Perception or Reality of Greater Importance to You?
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