Such a funny word; Character, and we use it to denote so many things in our English language. Just one definition alone has over 14 different incarnations of the word anywhere from traits about yourself to someone playing a part on a play or movie.

Just some of the definitions of the word Character are; The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual, The distinctive nature of something, The quality of being individual, typically in an interesting or unusual way, Strength and originality in a person’s nature, A person’s good reputation, A person in a novel, play, or movie, A part played by someone in a theatrical production, An interesting or amusing individual, and the list goes on and on.

With such a wide range and ways that it has become saturated by its various uses, it is a wonder we can seem to make sense of the word at all. The very fact that it has become a catch-all for all kinds of qualities, make it not as effective a tool when we desire to instill a character quality within ourselves or someone we are mentoring.

However, to talk of instilling a character trait within oneself, there is really a purification that must take place within the soul.

The other day i saw a commercial for Velveeta Cheesy Skillets and it had a video of this guy, a blacksmith, who talked with a deep voice as he sang the praises of “Liquid Gold”. In fact, outside of being a blacksmith, which he said he loved, his second love was the Liquid Gold of Velveeta. Pretty sure he wasn’t a paid spokesperson, either. I mean, come on, that would damage the very image of blacksmiths across the world, right?

What stuck me in the commercial, was the fact that this blacksmith was forging a horseshoe and it was hot on both ends of the edges of the horseshoe, but apparently in the middle, where he was holding it, was as cool as a cucumber because he was holding it with his bare hand.

But it got me to thinking about the process in general of forging something in that process. So, i asked Mr.Google about it and was lead to the process for purifying gold.

The refining process, the process that removes impurities that remain after the smelting process, makes the gold 99.9% pure. So when something is 24 Karat gold, it is essentially as pure of a gold as you can get. Subsequently, some thing that is 18 Karat is about 75% pure. Something 12 Karat is about 50% and of course something 0 Karats is, well, a carrot, I suppose.

The point here is that character traits have to be forged within us and really, when we desire a trait for ourselves or for someone who we are mentoring or parenting, the only thing we can hope to do is to instill the qualities. The forging process still must occur.

When i was a director for a community theatre, we used an old church for our theatre. Now we had a cool space but right in the middle of the theatre was this very large column that was a support. Essentially, lighting the stage was a challenge sometime with the obstacle in the way. Nothing was more evident to something i took for granted than when i had an intern from the local college theatre department come in with their ‘fancy book-learnin’ ways” on how to light a stage.

Forging Traits of Character

Oh, it was impressive with all of these fancy patterns on how the beams should cross and all to light the stage. But life is oftentimes different than that of the little perfection taught in the safety and security of a classroom. To see the little intern get a look of horror when i showed her the realities of the situation of the pole and how sometimes, like most things in life, you have to retain the concept of the intent, but you have to go all MacGyver on the situation to make it work, was priceless.

3 Ways To Begin The Forging Process

Way 1: Understand First the Intent of the Trait You Desire

People often times think that by merely talking about some character trait or deciding that you desire it, will make it so. More times than not, the opposite is the case. It is like watching The Biggest Loser on TV while eating a bag of chips. There is just a disconnect.

You really have to get down to why you desire it to begin with. If someone has told you that you need this or that character trait, the ego essentially tells you to tell them to ‘buzz off’. It is something that has to be forged within you.

Way 2: Awareness of Intent

Life, and living in the Now Moments of life, is all about the awareness of it all. There is a axiom that i tell my coaching clients; i tell them that the beauty of life is in the details of the details, meaning that they are to be hyper-aware in a given period of time to train their senses to be aware.

To forge a trait, you have to be hyper-aware of it in a given situation, either by observing it in others or in yourself. Really notice the intent of the trait and what are the processes that manifest it. Understand the emotions that accompany it as well and really understand the overall quality of a trait you are trying to forge.

Way 3: It Has to be For You

There is no character trait that can be instilled that your ego or anyone outside of you insist that you must retain for yourself. That is tricky in that if we are in a mentoring situation, we truly desire traits for the ones we wish to impact for their betterment. But if we allow the ego to become front and center, the character trait will never become forged.

The key here is to live it and become a model while teaching the intent behind the character trait. There in lies the truth in becoming, not only to others, but to ourselves.

Understand it, be Aware and internalize the character traits that define you, for in the end, you are the only one who must answer for your journey.

Be a Person of Quality. Direct Your Power.

Until then…

Be Excellent, Expect the Best!

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directyourownlife@gmail.comDA Southern is an Author, Speaker, Blogger and a Personal Development Life Coach, teaching the spirit of living in Now Moments with the principles he experienced during over 35 years as an actor and director in live theatre. DA coaches his clients to rid life of limiting beliefs that have kept them from achieving miracles in all areas of their life by embracing Mindfulness of the Present Moment with a renewed Vision for life. Contact DA Southern for Coaching or Speaking