Character Traits: 3 Ways to Understand the Process

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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!

Let me Know your Thoughts Below, Follow this Blog, and be Social with this Post, for the more people we have living successfully in this Now Moment and discussing the value of doing so, the higher we lift all others around us.

*******

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 directyourownlife@gmail.com

3 Ways Out of Ego’s Assumptive Hold

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There is an old saying that says that when you actually break the word, ASSUME, into its designated parts, you slash between the second “S” and after the “U” to say that when you assume, you make and ASS out of U and ME.

This is the very nature of assuming and assumptions. It is the way the ego keeps you forever guessing about the nature of life and people in general as well as constantly second-guessing yourself based on these illogical and irrational assumptions.

Assumptions are often cleverly disguised as hope and dreams but are, more often than not, just the egos way of keeping you in check. Another way assumptions are disguised in hope is in the form of worry and all its incarnations.

You see, your ego is like an onion with layers and layers of skin and the closer you get to the actual core of the ego, the more it makes you cry as you come to understand its hold on you. So most don’t take the trip to the core to rid themselves of its affect on their lives.

But it is a journey that must be forged for the dangers of not doing so are a life of constant second-guessing of your life. It means living so out of phase with the very nature that we are, love, that it becomes a convoluted mess that seemingly makes no sense.

Like the layers of an onion, we will slowly uncover that which has bound you. As we do so with the very nature of assumptions, please don’t assume anything here. It is all intertwined and as the layers begin to expose the ego, you will begin to understand the way the ego has turned you against yourself all in the name of “protecting” you.

From what, we are not quite sure of, but it is a journey to take for clarity and for love.

Assumptions are a benevolent dictator, of sorts, that the ego uses to guide you. It is actually the very nature of what many magicians use to guide you along a path of being truly amazed. We assume so much and the ego knows that, but the more we are lost within them, the more natural they feel to us.

3 Ways to Neutralize the Ego and Assumptions

The Way #1: Understand the Nature of Truth

Understand that at the heart of all assumptions are truths that you hold dear that are not truths at all. When Columbus took out to find whatever he was looking for, you know that many at that time assumed that earth was flat and that Columbus and the gang would fall off into space. Of course we laugh, but we would probably have believed it if we lived back then.

Assumptions are usually based on many shifting ideas while truth just is. This is why scientist do what they do; discover the truth. But scientist are not Gods, in that as soon as they spout some theory, and yes, many things are theories, they are taken as truths. Unfortunately we assume they are and give their words truth.

Gravity is truth, but we have learned to defy gravity, have we not?

All i am saying is that your truth is your truth and be clear about the nature of that truth for you. Just be very careful that the ego doesn’t subvert that truth for its own devices.

The Way #2: The Ass out of U and Me Approach

When faced with an apparent assumption, back off and cut it up. If you become a scientist testing out all of the hypothesis, will the assumption pass your truth test? Is the ego at all involved in any part of the assumption? (Uhh… the answer here is usually, “Yes”)

Here is an example from a client. A lady was talking of her daughters divorce and she was concerned with someone who she was interested in dating.

She made an assumption based on the father of the family, that all boys would be exactly like the father who had a reputation for being somewhat of a “ladies man”, or so she said. So she assumed that all of the boys would be exactly as their father who had been married several times, therefor they would be unfaithful as well. I asked her if she had met the one boy her daughter was interested in. She replied, “No, but i am sure he like his daddy.”

I see it often as a coach in life and in business; people make assumptions that have no bearing in truth at all but then hold those assumptions as truth, often to the detriment of future Now Moments decisions.

The ego is a sly one and will use every trick to keep you from living life from the heart and keeping you from your truth.

The Way #3: Identify Your Core Values

This is an exercise that many don’t seem to want to do, but think they know what they are. The challenge here is asking yourself if you have allowed your ego and others, through assumptions and upbringing, to decide for you these values.

Often, when i have a coaching client that is entrepreneurial, i see several patters that emerge; a ‘breakaway’ from a preconceived track that others thought for him/her. An understanding that they are to serve the greater good by becoming a creator and an inherent view of something larger than themselves.

At the heart of it, however, was a grounding in the values that are their truth. The beautiful thing about values is that they are your truth and yours alone. it is only when the ego or the assumption that others no better for you, that they become a muddled mess.

Identify your core values and be truthful here. Don’t allow the ego or any preconceived assumptions about life skew your list. you can do it in private. Identify the top 10 to 15 for yourself and maybe the top 25 to 50 overall.

Here is a great list for you to look over to get you started.

Then go about living by Directing Your Own Life to that end. It is only your life to live and yours alone, never allow the ego and assumptions to set the stage for you.

Until then…

Be Excellent, Expect the Best.

*******

Let me Know your Thoughts Below, Follow this Blog, and be Social with this Post, for the more people we have living successfully in this Now Moment and discussing the value of doing so, the higher we lift all others around us.

*******

directyourownlife@gmail.comDA Southern is an Author, Speaker, Blogger and a Strategic 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 directyourownlife@gmail.com

Life Begins When Worry No Longer Impacts Your Journey

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In such a climate of fear that we have seemed to allow ourselves to arrive within in this Present Moment of living, one must wonder how it is that we have come to such a place. How is it that souls of love that we are all truly destined to become, allow this fear of living, fear of life to pervade our very existence.

The common thread, it is my belief, is worry.

Let me come at it in a different way than most would. Worry is that common emotion of the soul that has no place, ever, within us, yet we seem to excuse it in ourselves and find it repugnant in everyone else.

My, oh my, the ego is a powerful little beast, is it not?

How often do we tell someone else not to worry, when that is our inclination. It is almost as if we are expected to worry about life in so many ways and if we don’t we, of course, are “flighty” or “cold-hearted” or we are irresponsible in some way. Imagine that, the very act of NOT worrying and staying true to who you are makes you irresponsible.

Can you imagine if you decided to travel the world and, because you set out on a journey of self discovery, you are labeled as irresponsible. Isn’t that the height of responsibility; being labeled as such when truth is what you desire? Isn’t the very act of discovering yourself indicates that you are in search of becoming a better person of love to enrich the human condition?

If you find yourself living is such fear as to not make that journey, then merely look at the program, The Amazing Race, where teams travel around the world in a short amount of time. What most take from the race who participate is the journey within that transforms them and their relationships with not only one another, but with humanity.

By seeing other cultures and participating in tasks that many times test their assumptions about themselves, the individuals find that their fear of truly living was baseless. That their worry about life, in general, was nothing more than the ego’s attempt to “protect” them.

Protect them from what? Not sure, but the ego tells you countless things to worry about in life.

Really, however, the journey is from the allowing of love to enter them. Love of themselves, love of humanity, love of life and love of the journey within that makes the journey without all worthwhile.

Worry is so baseless that it cripples us from truly living life. The sad fact is that society breeds that fear from childhood on. Oh, I’m not saying that we aren’t aware of our surroundings but we don’t live in a constant state of “what if” this or that happens that we have to do this or that to cover the “what if” to begin with.
As i said in the last post, the ego can play out a scenario to its end based on a “what if” so compelling that you actually believe it to be. Sometimes even so much as to manifest the very worry the ego has so cleverly ‘what if’ed” so the ego can say to you, “See, i told you so.” Then once the ego has you there, you actually feel guilt about not worrying.

Do you see the insidiousness of worry?

There is another component of worry that really is at the core. The ego masks it as “making sure you are good with yourself.” It is the “What others think of me and my decisions” thought pattern as a guide for living truth in your life that is your journey alone. Yes, we impact others with our lives, that is the very nature of living. However, if you come from a place of truth, from a place of love, then you will not be a concerned how you impact others. There will be no worry about your actions or the actions of others.

The very thought that your belief that others thoughts the ones that you assign to them, about you, are somehow a determinant for living your life is bizarre.

However, It happens all the time.

Someone gives you a look and you assign that look a series of thoughts, usually based on experiences from the past of a similar look. So then you get angry, do something completely different or think a new series of thoughts all based on a look. The ego goes into full-protection mode to align you to the world as it sees it, which is not reality at all.

In the next post, we will delve into the very nature of the living in such a Now Moment state of love that there is nothing any one can say to take you away from your journey. It is a conscious decision, but a freeing one.

By the way, the thought you must take from the whole “What others think of me” situation is this:

It is none of your business what others think of you!

Just be true to yourself and come from a place of love in all you do and say.

Let me know your thoughts below, get on the newsletter list HERE, and be Social with this Post, for the more people we have living successfully in this Now Moment and discussing the value of doing so, the higher we lift all others around us.

*******

directyourownlife@gmail.comDA Southern is a Strategic Personal Development 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 directyourownlife@gmail.com

The Mission of the Vision

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Vision was discussed in relation to goals in the previous post as something to aspire to.

Briefly we discussed goals as merely a subset of the larger vision of a life with a purpose, a Mission for your eternal pursuits.

However, in this ego-driven culture, Mission is often left to those ‘starving artist” and those who dedicate their selves to helping those in need in some remote part of the world or in some place of dire need in our own country.

A Mission often seems to be left to politicians that supposedly have the social good in mind, which we usually discover is seldom the case. Even the very definition of Mission from the dictionary alludes to missions from a standpoint of political and humanitarian efforts.

Therein lies the disconnect.

When we look at Mission then in the eyes of a cynical world, and with an ego that is constantly looking out for your own interest, it seems that a Mission is not really something that everyone is involved in, or should be, for far too many have corrupted the very meaning of the word.

The eternal creator of the universe did not set us adrift to be at the whim of a society that cares not but, in the eternal scheme of it all, desires nothing more than people with vision to lead them into a new age of enlightenment.

Here is where the ego usually shuts the discussion down as Enlightenment, Vision and Missions are certainly not practical. The egoic mind desires only to keep you forever tied to the past and worried about the future in a way to keep you focused on self-preservation, there will certainly be no talk of a Mission outside of yourself, for that is the very act of acknowledging an eternal presence that has no place in the ego-centric mind. Mission stuff is “out there” and reality is nothing more than your failures of the past and of the future, which is always to be worried about.

Often the heartaches of the past, the ego will tell you, would not even allow you to think that YOU, of all people, could have a Mission that could impact the world. This is precisely why you should think of a Mission for your life. Yes, it is tied to Vision and the two are usually so interwoven that it seems to be a daunting task to even conceive of it.

The ego tells you that you are not worthy for greatness, that you cant change the world, that “out there” pursuits are best left to those who are rich, or are crafty or whatever else the ego tells you to disavow that need within divinely given to you to create. The ego is crafty as them all by telling you that until you get to a certain status, income or whatever, that this Mission stuff be best left to those who have the ability to do so.

In the theatre, there is a much heralded saying that says, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Of course, it has been misused as a quote used to those who get small parts in a production who desired bigger roles, but the concept is not without merit. I learned that early on when i, too, desired a bigger part and got a smaller role. In a sense, it was that role that turned on a switch for me as i discovered the power of a smaller role and the truth about all parts of a production.

I even illustrated this point to a cast of actors during a production once. It seemed that they were being a bit disrespectful to the backstage crew, essentially being talent-snobs, as i would call them, and i set out to prove the dynamic of that saying. I told the actors that they would do the show at the rehearsal with the crew watching. As the show progressed, the actors struggled doing all of the things they took for granted that the crew did to make them look good.

It proved a point that those actors learned about appreciation for all who were involved in the show at every level.

There is even a larger lesson that came from that lesson, and that was appreciation for the Mission in general. The ego is such a controlling core concept that appreciation is lost for living in general. Life is a struggle, the ego tells you, and there is no way to appreciate EVERYTHING.

This is at the very core of your Mission. Appreciation for the journey and for the freedom to allow the Mission to become you.

In the next post, come back for the ways to manifest that within yourself and maybe you will find that your Mission has been in front of your eyes without your knowledge.

Let me know your thoughts below, get on the newsletter list HERE, and share with your friends, for the more people we have living successfully in this Now Moment and discussing the value of doing so, the higher we lift all others around us.

*******

directyourownlife@gmail.comDA Southern is a Strategic Personal Development 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 directyourownlife@gmail.com

Values, Goals and Worthiness, Oh, My!

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“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

“Groucho” Marx, 1890-1977, Comedian and Film Star

One might think of those who are Now Moment thinkers, that they tend to not care about that which drives and motivates our actions. And, of course, as a flighty Now Moment thinker, there is no such thing as Goals and Future Planning.

As preposterous as the concept of that thinking is, let me tell you how goals and values do indeed fit into Now Moments.

Realistic Thinking?

First, there is a little mythology we must dispel before we go any further. Trust me, I’ve heard it all when it comes to living in the Now Moments of Life.

“Get your head out of the clouds”
“Be realistic”
“You have to have a plan for the future”

And on and on it goes. But you see, the future, like the past, doesn’t exist. Now as much as you would like to dispute that and as much as your ego will tell you differently, I ask you to let go of your egoic mind for a bit and come with me on the journey that are Now Moments.

Think of it this way when it comes to the past. Is it not but a collection of Now Moments shared? If there were no pictures, writings, monuments of people who create for themselves a slice of what they hope to be immortality, how would you define the past? Only to you does it really have meaning to yourself and the ones you share it with.

To this end, I think of the movie with Tom Hanks from several years past, “Castaway”, that had a meaningful impact on me from a Now Moment perspective. His character was a man who lived in time as an expediter of sorts for Federal Express so he was all about future planning to the microsecond. When the plane he was flying crashed into the ocean, he became a castaway on an island alone; no future, no past, just as he was.

The future had no meaning because he saw none except the Now Moments of existing and the only way he marked any semblance of the past was by marks on a cave wall as the sun arose in each new trip around the sun. It was only when he decided to build a raft, did the future matter. But it was not the future that mattered because the date and time were irrelevant. It was simply that he decided a different outcome but continued to live in Now Moments to make it a reality.

That is the essence of Now Moment thinking.

To frame this in the context of a theatrical production, as I am apt to do, it is not unlike having Opening Night set for the theatrical production. I never would pass out my scripts to the actors and those involved in the show and tell them to return a day or two all prepared and we would put it all together…hopefully. No, the play happens only in the Now Moments that we rehearse and we build on the actions of the past, and allow the Now Moments of rehearsal to prepare us for opening night.

Quite honestly, when you truly live in Now Moments, you honor the past and the future best by being ever-present in this Now Moment to build a future you desire.

Of course, your ego tells you something completely different, that the only way to live is to be always looking to the future for some great happiness of some grandiose achievement. Such are New Year’s resolutions and the failure built into them.

Here is the difference in Now Moment thinking when it comes to goals, values and worthiness, as they are intertwined. You see, your ego has defined your worthiness that is solely based on achievement and decides your values for you as well, based on some future gain.

Think about it.

The very idea of the American Dream as spelled out in movies and books; the fancy house, the car, the high-paying career, the perfect family…

Really? As the kids say, “OMG!” (and they say Now Moment thinkers have their heads in the clouds!)

Now Moment thinking does not wrap itself in such delusions. By being ever-present we can set goals that adhere to our values that we thoughtfully set for ourselves and not allow to be defined for us by the ego, society or friends or family. Our worth is not tied up in the achievement of some future event but lived in every Now Moment.

The difference for Now Moment thinkers is that our goals are Themes really, in that we have a set of values that define who we are and we create within the context of those themes of living. We do not allow our goals to define us and we are mindful of them but not living in their completion as a way we gain worth. We are worthy now and all actions we do now are simply part of the rehearsal process that gets us to Opening Night.

So, you see, to live any other way than in these Now Moments is truly unrealistic. Live Now for here is where all future moments live.

Let me know your thoughts below, get on the newsletter list HERE, and share with your friends, for the more people we have living successfully in this Now Moment and discussing the value of doing so, the higher we lift all others around us.

*******

directyourownlife@gmail.comDA Southern is a Now Moment 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 the beauty of this Now Moment with a renewed passion for life. Contact DA Southern for coaching directyourownlife@gmail.com

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