Talents are like ships, enabling us to cross great oceans of possibility. But they need steering.
Character helps us to navigate months, even years of uncertainty; find our way when we’re blown off-course, makes it possible to deal with the mutinies, and to face the absolute unknown.
What character does is to grow our capacity to deal with complexity. In particular, we’re able to overcome the voices of judgement, cynicism, and fear with the positives of openness, compassion, and courage.*
Ros and Ben Zander’s idea of giving people an A is all about openness winning over judgement.** Then cynicism has nothing to feed on and is overcome by compassion. When something matters to us, then we find courage overcoming fear – in the movie The Cobbler, Adam Sandler inherits a stitching machine that enables him to step inside the world of anyone whose shoes are repaired on it, but the lesson is: “It’s a privilege to walk in another man’s shoes, but it’s also a responsibility.”^
There’s nothing mysterious about character development; it’s hundreds of choices and actions which take us from self to others, from possessing to giving, and from knowing to learning.
‘Character is formed in the crucible of faithfulness and refined through the gauntlet of perseverance. Remember, the shape of our character is the shape of our future.’^^
(*See Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)
(**See Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)
(^Check out the words of Walk a Mile in My Shoes: sung here by Bryan Ferry.)
(^^From Erwin McManus’s Uprising.)