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Grow Yourself A Character You Respect
by Barbara Garro

How many times have you been told to do something difficult, because it builds character? Whoever forced you to reach for your success sun knew this secret: An Honest Passion for Excellence with Integrity Changes You, Grows You to Become a Better Person Day by Day, a Person with Values, Choices, Living a Wholesome, Purposeful Life.

Garro’s Character Acronym

C - lear and consistent value system

H - elpful nature

A - ttitude that promotes relationship harmony

R - ight action

A - wareness of faults

C - ommitment to improve to overcome faults

T - rustworthiness and ability to trust

E - ducation commitment to lifelong learning

R - elationship with a Higher Power

Benjamin Franklin developed a blueprint of 13 core virtues for building his character from his extensive study of the great men and women from history. From Franklin's autobiography, you can learn to walk a character-building path, working, like Franklin, on one trait at a time. Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Core Virtues

1. TEMPERANCE - eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation

2. SILENCE - speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversations

3. ORDER - let all things have their places; let each part of your business have its time

4. RESOLUTION - resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail when you resolve

5. FRUGALITY - make no expense but to do good to others or yourself, i.e., waste nothing

6. INDUSTRY - lose not time; be always employed in something useful, but off all unnecessary

7. SINCERITY - use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly

8. JUSTICE - wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty

9. MODERATION - avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve

10. CLEANLINESS - tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation

11. TRANQUILITY - be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable

12. CHASTITY - rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation 13. HUMILITY - imitate Jesus and Socrates

Thinking some sound old-fashioned, outside of your belief system? Like a banquet, take what appeals, leave the rest. Still, why, like Franklin, work so hard on yourself? Franklin said:

I wished to live without committing any fault at any time…. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I imagined. While my care was employed in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason. I concluded…that the mere speculative conviction that it was in our interest to be completely virtuous was not sufficient to prevent our slipping; and that the contrary habits must be broken, and good ones acquired and established, before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform, rectitude of conduct.

Franklin provides a role model of a disciplined person. Only those who take charge of their lives can create moments of happiness and hold on to them. Your deeds are your destiny. Your character at any given moment drives your judgment about which choice is right for you. Purposely molding your character on a daily basis allows you to live your life in congruence with your dreams and visions.

Here are Three Rules to Raise Yourself up in Your Own Eyes:

1. Identify aspects of yourself in body, mind and spirit that stand in the way of total self-acceptance

2. Dig deep into yourself to uncover the beliefs that feed each aspect

3. If those beliefs are true, as in looking at the reality of pounds of extra weight, make the necessary changes. If those beliefs are true and unchangeable, accept them. If those beliefs are no longer true for who you would become, change those beliefs to match the person you choose to grow into Seneca said, “I will govern my life and my thought, as if the whole world were to see the one, and to read the other.” Einstein once confessed in a beautiful expression of humble humanity, “All I have is stubbornness.”

Consider the photograph that appeared on front pages of daily newspapers all over the country of strong-spirited Olympian gymnast, Kerri Strug, being carried by her coach, Bela Karolyi, after she injured her ankle in competition and still competed her program to help the United States gymnastic team win the gold medal in 1996. Strug was working and her spirit gave her the power to finish her program even with a fresh, painful injury.

Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it. Your character determines how you take situations that occur in your life. Strong characters refuse to react on automatic, rather they respond. They live their lives in the moment with intention. When they feel themselves losing control, they make themselves refocus, reframe, and respond differently than their screaming emotions want them to. This enables them to make responsible choices.

Grow yourself a character you respect.