I respect you for asking such an important question.
That you are motivated to build one is wonderful.
Thank you for trusting me to offer you some first steps.
What strong character is made of
Strong character is made of many qualities: honesty, reliability, loyalty…
But they all add up to one thing:
You are solid.
Being solid means you can be counted on.
You can be counted on by your family, your friends and loved ones and pets,
your employer, your neighbor—all those who need you.
Who did I leave out?
But…can you see that I have left out the key person?
The one person who has the greatest need to be able to count on you?
Let me tell you a story
My grandfather was a Colonel in the Army. He was a man of very strong character, known and loved by everyone in his small town. My hero!
When he was in his eighties he would bring me to his home for two weeks every summer. Every night immediately after dinner he would wash the dishes and I would dry them.
This was done without fail. Without exception. He told me he had always done that, and that it was a rule in the house.
To this day, I still do the same, in his honor.
A small thing?
You may think it is a small thing: that he always did those dishes.
But it wasn’t.
I tell you: it exemplified his entire character.
He ALWAYS kept his commitments.
Big and small.
Why did he keep his commitments?
Because he was true to himself.
He did not lie to himself.
He did not say he was going to do it, and then let himself off the hook.
He was solid.
He could always count on himself to do whatever he had vowed to do.
He took care of my grandmother in their home through years of Alzheimer’s.
He was a man who kept his vows.
Because he was true to himself.
So who is the one person who most needs to be able to count on you?
If you cannot count on you, NO ONE ELSE will ever be able to count on you.
You must first become true and reliable and solid TO YOURSELF.
So how do you DO that?
You take the first step.
Let me offer it to you.
The first step is to choose a commitment to make to yourself.
A commitment to do something constructive for yourself.
Make the first one simple and doable.
Just one daily action.
Make it for something that will improve your life for years to come.
Vow you will do it, without fail, exactly as promised.
You will be solid. Utterly and completely reliable. No excuses accepted.
Understand that your honor is at stake.
This isn’t a New Year’s Resolution that you laugh off in the middle of January.
This is serious.
Your capacity to keep a promise to yourself is being tested.
You must not let yourself down.
It could be going for a walk once a day. With your dog, if you have one.
Or saying a prayer in the morning to thank God for another day of life.
Or smiling and greeting a neighbor by name.
I know you can think up the perfect first vow for you to make.
One that makes you smile!
Make it simple and doable.
Something you know is good for you and that you will always feel proud of.
Keep track and reward yourself
Make a little chart for the coming month with the dates on it,
so you can put a check next to every single day.
Plan a little reward for yourself after your first full month
of keeping your special first vow to yourself.
Celebrate that you have begun achieving real evidence that
“I am solid: I can count on me!”
A small start toward a big future
You start small. You PROVE yourself to yourself by keeping one small vow.
Each time you do, you gain confidence to make a higher level commitment.
You continue each month to make and keep further commitments to yourself.
You build your own foundation as a man. You see yourself grow.
It is very exciting, and very doable, to become a man of strong character!
I salute you for doing the work to achieve this admirable goal.
Your strong character will be the foundation for all your future success.
My question for you:
What did it feel like, to take that first step? What was the hardest part for you?
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