Religious Freedom Matters: What’s at Risk

We believe in creating a space for everyone to live their conscience without infringing on the rights and safety of others. Elder Ronald A. Rasband

I have decided to share an article today that I recently re-read from an LDS magazine called the Ensign. I share it because I am concerned with the lack of understanding that so many individuals seem to have in regards to the importance of freedom – particularly religious freedom.

During my near-death experience, I witnessed that I was a part of what this article refers to as the War in Heaven. The war in heaven took place prior to this world being created and was a momentous occasion/event in heaven that we all were affected by. Some may think of this as a physical battle. Instead, what I witnessed was an incredibly important and pivotal debate that most of God’s children were a part of.  It was this debate, and our choices in regard to it, that determined our opportunity to be a part of this world.

In the United States, we are blessed to mostly take our freedoms for granted. However, our freedoms should be cherished and need protecting. We may not always agree with the beliefs of another individual or group but as long as forced coercion and physical harm are not utilized, we need to respect their ability to believe and worship as they desire.

It is because of what I witnessed in heaven and my concerns about what I now witness going on in this country and our world that I share today’s article. It includes references to scriptures and materials/individuals who are LDS (Church of  Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). However, I believe it is relevant regardless of your religious persuasion.

I hope you will read it and support efforts to protect religious freedom and freedom in general. Great sacrifices have been made by our military and their families throughout our nation’s history. I am grateful to be a beneficiary of their efforts and sacrifices. I believe that our freedom deserves their continued efforts but it also needs our efforts. If every family in America taught and practiced respect for a diversity of beliefs, not only would the freedoms of this nation continue to be uplifted and preserved, the ability for the world, as a whole, to live according to their conscience and beliefs would likewise spread and blossom.

I believe that every member of mankind inherently knows that they are meant to be free and to live according to the dictates of their conscience. If you are aligned with me in those beliefs, I hope that you will stand for and defend our right to practice freedom of religion and to live according to our beliefs and conscience. Silence will not preserve our freedoms, it will only encourage those who are intent on silencing the voices of religion and conscience.

I hope you enjoy today’s article:

Freedom to choose. That’s what the War in Heaven was all about. We couldn’t afford to lose agency then, and we can’t afford to lose it now. And that includes the freedom to “worship how, where, or what [we] may” (Articles of Faith 1:11). That’s why the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination [as for a Mormon]; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 345).

In addition to maintaining religious freedom as an eternal principle (even God will not remove the agency of any of His children), there are some potentially severe consequences if we lose the freedom to worship, speak, and live according to our beliefs.

  • You could lose your job or leadership positions for expressing religious beliefs—even outside of work. For instance, CEOs, newscasters, judges, teachers, doctors, professors, firefighters, Olympians, graduate students, and many others have been fired, pressured to resign, or intimidated for donating money or simply saying that they support the traditional view of marriage.

  • You might be required to hide your religion or perform tasks at work that go against your beliefs. Does it seem fair, for example, that a doctor who opposes abortion on a religious or moral basis be required to perform one even though numerous other doctors nearby are willing? Should you be forced to wear an immodest uniform when it’s not necessary for your job function?

  • You may be required to work on the Sabbath or religious holidays even when others are willing to take your shift and your employer accommodates other nonreligious interests.

  • Your children in public schools may be required to learn about sexual and gender theories that contradict basic Church teachings. Many public schools already teach sex education in a way that’s fundamentally contrary to Church teachings, and some have required reading lists with explicit content.

  • You may not be able to adopt children or become a foster parent because of your religious beliefs or views on the family.

  • As a business owner or professional, you might lose your license or be fined if you refuse to perform services that are contrary to your religious beliefs. You might even lose professional credentials if you don’t participate in certain activities, even if other co-workers are willing to perform them in your place.

  • You might not be able to create faith-based clubs on college campuses without being required to let people become club members—or even officers—who oppose the club’s religious beliefs.

  • Churches may be forced to employ people who disagree with or refuse to live core values of their faith, threatening their ability to carry out their religious missions.

  • Churches could lose their tax-exempt status by maintaining doctrines, policies, and standards that conflict with secular beliefs regarding marriage, family, gender, and sexuality, resulting in a huge increase in costs to build houses of worship or to purchase and provide goods for humanitarian aid.

  • You might lose tax exemptions for charitable donations like tithes and offerings if the Church loses its status as a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization.

  • Churches may not be able to access government lands for camps on equal terms with other groups, limiting youth conferences and camps.

  • Housing units, such as dorms, at religious colleges could be forced to abandon moral standards that protect privacy, modesty, and morality, denying people the right to room with those who uphold the same standards.

  • Religious schools that maintain honor codes may lose their accreditation and be denied research funds and even federal student loans and grants, diminishing the value of their degrees, undermining the quality of their education, and making it financially impossible for many students to attend.

There’s a lot at stake, and this is just a sampling. As society continues to move away from eternal truths and God-given commandments, we can’t predict all the consequences that may result if religious freedom and the right to act on our beliefs are taken away.

So we need to raise our voices to defend religious freedom. If we don’t raise them for the protection of religion now, vital religious freedoms will be lost.

When we join the cause together, we can make a difference that will protect religious freedom not just for Latter-day Saints but also for followers of all religions.

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/07/religious-freedom-matters-whats-at-risk?lang=eng

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How Parents Who Play Favorites Hurt the Entire Family

For there is no respect of persons with God Romans 2:11Parents try to be fair, but children pick up on subtle differences in the way they are treated.

In a study appearing in the journal Child Development, researchers led by Jennifer Jenkins, a professor of human development and applied psychology at the University of Toronto, report on the wide-ranging effects that playing favorites, known as differential parenting, can have on not just individual siblings but also on the behavior and mental health of all family members.

When parents provide more positive feedback and encouragement to one child while sending primarily negative comments to another, it’s no surprise that the negatively targeted child may develop more behavior problems and have a more difficult relationship with his parents. But Jenkins and her colleagues were interested in exploring how differential parenting affects all siblings in a family and in understanding some of the factors that might make such differential treatment more likely.

The researchers focused on nearly 400 Canadian families, each of which had at most four children. They asked mothers about their children’s positive and negative behaviors and went to some of the families’ homes to observe parent-child interactions — for example, how the children played without toys and how mothers taught their children to make a pattern based on a photo, and the way mothers told their children a story. When the youngest children were at least 18 months old, the researchers measured the youngsters’ aggression, attention and emotional problems and rated their relationships with siblings and parents.

Overall, the negatively treated children tended to show more attention and emotional problems than their more positively treated siblings by the end of the four-year study, but all children showed higher rates of these problems compared with when the trial began. That, says Jenkins, was a surprise since previous work had only highlighted the effect of differential parenting on the targeted children.

“We would have thought that, on the basis of previous research, it would just be the disfavored children who are having problems, but that’s not the case,” says Jenkins. “Sometimes moms are very similar with their kids, and sometimes they’re very different with their kids. And when they advantage some and disadvantage others, it looks like it’s a problem for all of the kids in terms of their mental health.”

Since parents rarely set out to treat their children differently, the scientists decided to explore which factors promoted differential parenting; they figured that a mother’s stress due to economic or personal experiences might have the greatest impact on the way she treats her children, so they also collected data on the mothers’ education levels, depression and history of physical and sexual abuse. They also considered family dynamics such as whether the mother was a single parent raising her family and the safety of the home environment.

Mothers who came from unstable family backgrounds were more likely to treat each of their children differently than mothers who had privileged upbringings, and the more external factors a mother faced, like being a single parent or struggling with depression, the more difficult it was for her to treat her children equally.

That makes sense, Jenkins says, since a mother who is stressed may have less patience with the child who has more problems. But as a result, all of her children may experience more behavior problems since children tend to internalize their parents’ reactions. Children who perceive the differential treatment as unfair, even if they are treated more positively, may also act out and develop attention or emotional problems as they grow older, possibly as a way to empathize with their siblings or in protest of the injustice of the favoritism. “It creates a sense of the kids feeling uneasy, or [gives them a] sense of unfairness,” says Jenkins. “In other studies, we’ve shown that the amount of differential parenting is related to the quality of sibling relationships, so when a kid is favored or disfavored, [he or she] is fed up with the sibling, getting on less well with that sibling, and that also feeds into the general dynamic of the family.”

Addressing some of the factors that may fuel parents to play favorites, like financial strain, could help alleviate some of the wide-ranging effects on families. “We really have to start supporting parents who are socially disadvantaged and make sure they have access to money so they aren’t worried about their kids all of the time, and access to good childcare so that they’re not worried about kids being on their own when they’re working,” says Jenkins. “These things are eating into the way parents can parent.”

Even when parent-child relationships are stressed in this way, communicating well can reduce some of the negative consequences. In some families, certain siblings need more attention or support than others, and parents should discuss with their kids why they are approaching siblings differently to avoid any misunderstanding. Children “don’t mind that parents treat them differently,” Jenkins says. “They only mind when they see that differential treatment as unfair, and that comes about when things aren’t explained to children.”

Today’s article was written by Olivia B. Waxman and is shared from the following website: http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/12/how-parents-who-play-favorites-hurt-the-entire-family/

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Take Responsibility For Your Life – Amazing Things Will Happen.

You Must be the change you want to see in the world Mahatma Gandhi

You’ve been eating and drinking the same way for years. Exercising (or not) the same way for years. Working the same way for years. Sleeping (or not) the same way for years. And for all that time — in your 20s and 30s — it’s worked for you. Worked in the sense that you could do it without serious repercussions. Until one day.

One day, you start to notice some changes. In your energy levels. In how you feel. In your stress levels. In how you look. In this moment, you have a choice.

Do you:

  • Continue living as you have been for the last 20-odd years, and hope that its current impact on you will change?

Or

  • Shrug your shoulders, and say to yourself: “There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s my age.”

My guess is that your choices will be split 50/50 between these two. I say this because it’s what I observe around me, day in, day out. I observe it, especially amongst menopausal women. When I challenge their choice — after all, I’m a menopausal woman, too — many cite experts who say this is to be expected.

You’re telling me to accept my lot in life? One that has me feeling less energetic, being less healthy and more stressed, and looking less alive as I age?

I call time on that.

You see, there’s a third choice, one that very few people even see. It’s to take responsibility for your own life.


What taking responsibility looks like

Taking responsibility means no excuses, no denial. It means accepting exactly what’s before you, no matter how unpalatable that may be. And taking action to make some changes in your life.

I get why the denial and excuses options appeal to you so much. And why the taking-responsibility one is of so little appeal. You’re human, and humans are hot-wired not to like change. You view change as a threat because it takes you into unfamiliar territory. Which your fear brain views in pretty much the same way as it views a saber-toothed tiger in your garden.

But there’s another wonderfully human feature you can use, too. Your heart.

Your heart is your instinct. That little voice inside you that knows the truth. The little voice that knows it’s ludicrous to expect a different result from doing the same thing. The little voice that knows that hiding behind the opinions of others is burying your head in the sand.

It’s a great idea to put your heart in charge of taking responsibility for your life. Because, unlike your mind, which thinks it’s great at everything, your heart knows the truth. Your heart knows it’s great at seeing things for what they are, and making decisions. And how — and whom — to ask for help. Plus, unlike your mind, it doesn’t get derailed by fear. Your heart allows fear its full expression. This prevents it from making you stuck and harnesses fear’s powerful energy. It then hands things over to your thinking brain.

Your heart made the right choice for you. Now it’s time for action. Specifically, for planning for action. And that’s your thinking brain’s sweet spot. It gets a boost from fear’s energy to get focussed. You find yourself able to see everything that needs doing to make the change(s) you need in your life. You know how the chunk the various elements into steps, and how to prioritize them.

Going forward, you’ll need both your heart and thinking brain. They act in tandem to keep your fear brain from blocking your progress. Because it will try, again and again. Remember, your fear brain likes the status quo. It doesn’t want you to go outside your comfort zone. And that’s precisely what taking responsibility for your life does. It pushes you way outside your comfort zone. As it must, because that’s where personal growth — the outcome of change — lives.


What happens when you take full responsibility for your life

When you choose responsibility over denial and excuses, your life blossoms. I’m not saying that everything becomes easy and all challenges disappear. Far from it. I’m saying your life blossoms because you realize how powerful you are. Your ability to overcome challenges grows with every change you make. You become much more resilient to whatever life throws at you.

How do I know this? I’m living proof of it.

In my late 30s, I was going places. My career was hot, I was married, had lots of friends, owned my own home, took fancy holidays. I had everything you could want in life. Yet… I’d long felt as though something was missing. As though I was here for more than this. My work life was pretty typical of someone in senior management in the corporate world. I worked long hours (50–70 per week). I had a workload that was unmanageable. I was made to do things that went against my values. I had to tow the corporate line. I was stressed out all the time and felt like a hamster in a wheel. I kept on making the same mistakes and getting stuck in the same rut. I could help companies out of their ruts, but I couldn’t seem to break free from my own.

Until life as I knew it came crashing down on top of me. I, superwoman, developed an autoimmune disease that ground me to an abrupt halt.

When I stopped feeling sorry for myself for being so debilitated, I knew it was decision time. I could continue as I was, lurching from flare to flare, and medication to medication. Or I could find a new way of coping with the disease. I chose the latter. You see, when I closed my eyes and pictured myself in my 70s or 80s, I didn’t see a sick person. I saw a vibrant, happy and active older me. That was the only image of me I had. So I had to find a way to change my life to make that image a reality.

I knew my lifestyle — how I was living — was behind everything. And I knew I wasn’t looking for a quick fix. I was looking for a sustainable solution. One that needed all my hard-won business skills and an obsessive focus. I went through my life with a fine-toothed comb. How I did things. What happened as a result. Why I was doing them in the first place. I looked into how my lifestyle affected my body, my mind, my emotional state, my spiritual state. No aspect of my life escaped my scrutiny.

This didn’t happen overnight. I spent more than a decade testing everything. I broke habits, made new ones, broke those, made more new ones. It was a circular process, not a linear one.

By the end, I had made myself virtually bulletproof. Resilient to the max. And my life had blossomed. I was happier and more self-fulfilled than ever before.

Here’s the hard proof. Today, I’m 55. My metabolic age is 30. The autoimmune disease I developed in my late 30s is in full remission and has been for years.

All because I chose to take responsibility for my life. My thoughts, my actions, my health, my fulfillment, and my happiness.

You see, I still have a LOT to do in my life. I have big dreams and even bigger plans.

Don’t you?

Today’s article was written by Sarah Blick. Sarah Blick is Well-Being Wizard and Life Coach at Aging Disgracefully Well. She specializes in helping people get unstuck, master their minds, become more resilient to life’s stresses, and live the meaningful life they know is possible.
Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://medium.com/thrive-global/you-need-to-take-responsibility-for-your-life-heres-why-a95c788202ce

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The Power of Personal Responsibility

The secret ingredient to true happiness? Decisive optimism and personal responsibility. Amy Leigh MercreeLife blooms when we take responsibility for our full human experience. To be personally responsible and self-reliant means we have to get our sh*t together and decide to have command over these five areas:

1. Our Aim. What is our goal, our direction, our purpose? What is it that we are moving toward and organizing our lives to achieve and contribute? These are questions of the motivated and purposeful human.

2. Our Attention. Are the things we continually focus on bringing us joy, success, connection, growth? Or are we being distracted by a bunch of  garbage and gossip in life?

3. Our Attitude. The power plant doesn’t have energy, it generates energy. Similarly, we don’t have an attitude, we generate one. When we choose to generate a negative energy and attitude, life is horrible. But when we choose to generate and broadcast a joyous, loving, and positive energy, life opens up to us, people feel something new from us, and our entire life blooms and grows.

4. Our Affections. Are we connecting with those we love and sensing the beauty of this life? The emotional quality and connections we feel in life are also a choice, and we should choose to feel again, to love again, to become passionate and emotionally open, giving, strong and vibrant.

5. Our Actions. Our destiny is dictated by our disciplined actions – what we do each day, the habits we develop, our purposeful efforts. Take no action, have no life, no adventure, no progress. But overcome apathy and fear and get going and soon there is magic and momentum and what we love to call, the charged life.

Transcript

Let’s talk about personal responsibility and self-reliance.

Have you ever met somebody who just drives you nuts, because you’re like, “Why are they not more responsible?”

It drives you insane or you know somebody who just, I mean, they just, for whatever reason cannot stand on their own in life.

You’re like, “Could you please make a decision!” You know, you go to dinner with somebody and be like, “I don’t know honey can you tell me what to order,” and you’re like AHH!

Now, we all know someone like that and some of us have been guilty at some parts of our lives and being that type of person, so let’s dial this in.

What does personal responsibility really mean? What happens in our lives when we have it?

I personally feel that when we are more personally responsible for our own lives, life blooms. A magic enters our life, not just the magic of confidence and certainty in who we are, but a sense of total truth with what life is supposed to be for ourselves.

We are not meant to be victims or apathetic people laying around, hoping something comes along and changes our lives because only two things change our lives.

1. Either, something new does come into our life and it changes our direction, changes our insight, changes who we are. Maybe we win the lottery or the lucky white knight comes in and saves your life. Or…

2. Or, something new comes from within you.

I think what that thing is that comes from within us that’s so powerful that retakes our life, what is that magic? It’s personal responsibility.

I know that’s so simple, it’s almost like (boring sound). It doesn’t sound sexy to say be responsible for your life, but I think we have five main responsibilities in our lives and if we take control of each of these areas of our lives, like a new power comes into our life, a new joy and zest.

I would argue more over time, success, connection, joy, love, and abundance … come along with it.

OUR AIM

And that first thing that we are personally responsible for is our aim, our ambition, our desire, our goal, our dream.

Successful people look out there and say, “What is it that I desire of my life?” They go for it. They’ve set an intention. They’ve set a direction for who they are and where they’re going and what is meaningful to them, who they want to have along with them. Their aim is extraordinarily tight. They really do see where they’re going and what they want. They don’t always know the full picture, they just know, I want to be like this… I want to do things like this. They start along that path.

Because they’re following their own path, even if they don’t know where exactly it goes, they’re living the adventurous life. They’re entering a new phase of their life where they truly feel that this journey is their own versus just being carried along by their parents, their professors or their peers or their co-workers. It’s their own – they have their own aim in life.

I think we have to take control of that. I think tonight would be a good time for you to sit down and say,

“Okay, what is it I want in the major areas of my life? What is it I truly have aim and ambition for in my work life, in my relationships, in my sense of spiritual and emotional self? In my physical health and vitality? In my overall direction in life?”

What do you want next week to be about? If you don’t know then you are “aimless”, and when you’re aimless it’s pretty easy to feel pretty lost. It’s like you kind of wander around in the world, that’s a big full wilderness. That’s why in Montana we always say, “The time to have the map is before you enter the woods.”

The world is a big thicket of crazy throngs of people who have all their wants and wills, and if you don’t have your own direction, if you have not set your own life agenda, they will set one for you. So you have to direct your own aim.

OUR ATTENTION

The second thing you have to direct is your attention.

Where is your attention going each moment of the day?

The ability to be fully present is really just guiding one’s attention to this moment, giving ourselves an alertness, an intention and awareness to the very Now that we are experiencing. That’s power.

When you are more attentive to your life, to the moments that you experience, it’s amazing.

But attention also applies to, what are we paying attention to overall in our life?

Most of us are being guided again, by the aims of others so we are taken from our own attention of what we should be focusing on and stripped away into the distractions of the world.

Most people’s attentions are not… they’re not paying attention to what they should be paying attention to based on their goals, their desires, their dreams or demands and responsibilities of life; they’re paying attention to the distraction that showed up. “Oh look, a new Michael Jackson song!” (That happened right before this video!).

I’m just saying… if we’re going to accomplish a lot and go where we want to in our lives and really sense the fullness of this moment, we have to guard our attention from all the garbage that can come in and sweep it away.

OUR ATTITUDE

I think the third thing that we are absolutely responsible for in our lives and when we take responsibility of this thing, life absolutely explodes in joy, and that’s our attitude.

How are you meeting life? Are you meeting life energized and alive and buoyant, and excited, and enthusiastic and positive; you can’t wait for the next moment to unfold?

Or, are you like, “Well, here we go again?”

You know these people, have you seen them? I see them. Watch people when they walk down the street, they’re grumbling, it’s like their attitude stinks so bad that I can’t stand to be around them. It’s like they’re just emanating nasty, dark, bad energy in the world, and why? Because they chose to.

Some people say, “No, Brendon, no one would choose that.” Yeah. They did. They chose to have a bad attitude just enough over a period of time that it became part of their personality. That their attitude now is just fixed. It is closed. It is angry, upset, or bordering on the negative emotional qualities of life, rather than realizing the incredible magic and experience that we all have available to us, each and every single moment of the day.

There is a lot of magic around here. When your attitude is open you’re allowing yourself to learn. When your attitude is open you’re allowing yourself to connect to other people. When your attitude is open finding happiness isn’t something you do you create it. You choose the attitude of happiness. You don’t have to have happiness, you generate it. You don’t have to have good energy today, you generate it.

I always say the power plant doesn’t have energy it generates energy. You yourself are generating an attitude. It was not fixed on you.

Everything we’ve learned in psychology over the years is that you can literally change your attitude, just by controlling your thoughts and directing them in a new, positive, healthy, social way.

Why not do that?

You all deserve to have a good attitude. It’s a choice, just like happiness is a choice. It’s a choice. Choose to have a good attitude.

OUR AFFECTIONS

I think the fourth thing, if we’re talking about directing your aim, we’re talking about making sure that your attention is focused on the things it should be, and that you’re directing your attitude… the fourth thing we get to direct is our affections.

Our affections in terms of, our emotional quality in life, but also those that we care for. We should take responsibility for the amount of love we’re giving our loved ones.

We should control the amount of emotion that we have throughout the day, not to control it and stifle it, but to allow the beauty of it to come up. To allow ourselves to feel affectionate towards other human beings. To allow ourselves to feel affectionate for causes. To allow ourselves to feel affectionate for Mother Nature and our planet, and our God. To allow that emotional connection, that affection that happens when we care deeply about something again.

A lot of people, they got hurt a couple of times in their life so they shut off. They closed down, they’re like, “I’m out,” and they stopped allowing that beautiful part of their lives.

It takes a lot of responsibility to allow ourselves to love because it’s so much easier to shut down and take no responsibility whatsoever, become a victim, become very upset, because you know what, when we’re a victim we don’t have to be responsible. It’s somebody else’s deal. They have the power. They took the power over us, whisked away all our goodness and now we can just be upset and angry. That’s such an easy route for people to take.

Demanding that we take control of our emotional reality and the affections we have for others and other things, that brings about risk. If you heighten the affection you give to somebody; they might hurt you. So? Love is never hurt, ever. Maybe your ego gets trounced a little bit.

Maybe you feel sad for a couple moments, but at the end of the day what’s life? Is it supposed to be a bland, colorless universe where we don’t get to experience the heights and the joys and the rainbows and the gifts of love?

I don’t think so.

I think affection is something that we an all choose to have, and feel and cultivate in our lives.

If we are not overcome with emotion once in a while for somebody, then we aren’t thinking about the beauty in other people.

If we aren’t overcome with emotion and connection and we don’t just want to grab someone and kiss them all over the face then we aren’t paying attention to people anymore.

We have become too trapped in our own thing.

Other people should fascinate us. We should be excited to meet them. We should look out into the world and say, “Wow, you know what, there are so many people. They’re all so different. What an incredible zest that we get.”

Our brain is hardwired to love novelty. Guess what? We have seven billion people who can give us that dopamine drip, just by talking to them and connecting real emotion with them again. Let’s do that.

OUR ACTIONS

The fifth thing that people need to be personally responsible for in our lives is action, our behaviors.

What is it that we’re doing each and every single day?

Taking responsibility for our actions because they are adding to our character and our destiny.

Who we become is a result of our disciplined actions, not our random initiatives that we do once in a while that respond to something, but, “What do I want to be about,” and being disciplined about being that.

What do I want to achieve being disciplined about achieving that?

What do I want to give or serve and being disciplined about giving and serving in those ways when we do that?

Something completely changes. We get a remarkable amount of momentum and progress in our lives.

Our personal responsibility in being able to control our actions and guide them towards healthy and positive outcomes for ourselves, that gives us extraordinary confidence, an extraordinary sense of progress in life. When we’re confident in who we are and we’re confident in our progress towards where we are moving, then it’s easier to sense that magical element called happiness.

It all comes from being responsible for those five things. Aim. Attitude. Attentions. Affections. Actions we take each day.

Look at the opposite. Look at those who have no aim in life.

Look at those who have not controlled their attitude so they’re just taking on and imbued the negative emotional attitude of those around them.

Look at those who cannot control their attention during the day, how much they accomplish. Look at those people who have no affection for other people and they do not control their emotions at all in positive ways.

Look at those who are not directing their actions intentionally.

What happens? They always end up derailing their life. They end up lost somewhere. They end up frustrated and irresponsible, not only for their own lives but often for the lives of those who they are entrusted to care for.

So personal responsibility is a big thing. But now you master those five elements of your life, bring intentionality to those five elements of your life, and as I said in the beginning, “Life blooms.” An extraordinary new quality of experience comes into our lives, we feel an incredible spark and zest about it each day. We feel what we call the charged life.

Today’s article was written by Brendon Burchard and is shared from the following website: https://brendon.com/blog/the-power-of-personal-responsibility/

 

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Building Character

The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. Anne Frank

The dirty chores at home on the farm were always “character-building.” My dad always used to say that shoveling out the hog barn “builds character.” What I knew at the time is that the only thing it built was a healthy smell that lingered way too long.

No different than you, just different activities at different times. Those words of “it builds character” echo through our lives. When we get dumped or ignored by someone we think we love, we hear the whisper of “it builds character.” When we are way behind on writing a term paper or preparing for a test, we hear the chant of “it builds character.” When we have the horrible boss experience again, we cling to the words of “it builds character.”

It builds character.

“It” is really just a fill-in-the-blank space to add in:

  • Conflict
  • Hard workbuilds character
  • Civil debate
  • Solving problems
  • Parenting
  • Managing
  • Leading

Each builds character. Just plug it in.

What Is Character?

Character. We know it when we see it. Maybe more importantly, we know it when it is missing.

Headlines fill us in with the individuals lacking character. The headlines feature more than the common criminals. Politicians and business leaders make the front page with many counts of bad character. Bad character knows no boundaries.

The good news is good character knows no boundaries, too. Good character is exemplified every day and too often goes unnoticed. Media attention gets attracted to the obvious places too often.

But character is more than visual. Character is engraved within us. The engraving isn’t always planned and clean. The word “character” comes from the Greek kharakter that means “engraved mark.” The character trace goes back to another definition of “to scrape or scratch.” For me, the combination of engrave, scrape, and scratch fit well with what character really means. Here are my thoughts on why:

  • Engrave – An active art of determining what builds our character – honesty, courage, and the like.
  • Scrape – Learning from the challenges that come our way (or those we create) and then proving what we learned by doing much better than before.
  • Scratch – The act of working our way back when we fall down and gaining strength of integrity from what we experience.

Character is all the good traits we think it is. However, character is much more. Character is a verb, demonstrated in what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. Character is also how we recover.

Character Over Time

Character builds over time. Character is additive. We cannot waste our youth pursuing things that neuter or subtract from our character. Equally true, we cannot spend our older years tearing down the character we built. In both cases, we are wasting time and, most importantly, damaging relationships. Legacy and trust carry a high lifetime value.

Each choice and action we take adds or detracts from our character. Any given day, we should have more positive character choices and actions than negative ones. Getting character right is not a balance exercise. Not even close. We should build character through our good choices and actions as often as we can. We are imperfect. How we respond in our imperfect choices and actions can add to or subtract from our character. This is the choice of our character.

No matter our age, we should never dig a big hole in our character in which we spend a lifetime trying to recover. The younger we are, the longer the lifetime of recovering. And this is why trying to make the best choices possible and take the most appropriate actions as often as possible early in our lives can make a very big difference in the quality of our overall life.

Time-Tested Character

Time matters. Time tests. Character erodes or grows.

Our character is developed through time. More accurately, our character is developed through our experiences and what we choose to learn and do from them. Trials and tribulations are tough. We all have them in some way. We can mask them, pretending they are not really there. We can tackle them, risking relationships and results. What I know is we cannot ignore them, and we must face them.

Character in many ways is a combination of our mind, soul, and backbone.

Character in many ways is a combination of our mind, soul, and backbone. We need to work through our thoughts and pick the ones that matter. We need to understand how the trials are impacting our soul and take the necessary steps to protect and grow. We need to know when to stand up, move on, or protect. Character is tested. How we respond and learn will determine the legacy of our character.

In times of success and prosperity, our character is at risk as well. Just because everything seems to be going very well and we are rich in what we have in our abilities and worth, too often character falters in these good times. Laziness creeps in. Thinking we are above what is normal and right invades our actions. Character loses our attention because we think we have it all.

The only time we have it all is when our character remains intact and grows in strength.

In good times, we need to continue to add to our character by what we say and do. We need to pass on our lessons learned and share our wealth of experience along with whatever else we give. People will remember your stories of character, and these stories deliver much more meaning than a name on a building. Legacy of character carries forward like folklore.

What Builds Character?

Each year, we begin with a ritual with little lasting impact: Resolution-making. Instead of making resolutions, maybe we should do things to build our character every day. Imagine what a year’s worth of character-building could produce.

We should never ignore our habits, though. Habits effect character. Eating right. Exercising frequently. Reading often. All these elements provide the nutrients for a clear mind, activating spirit, and strong backbone. Good habits feed our inner goodness.

With this disclaimer now complete, we return to what can build character every day. I have thought about my own life work experiences, and these seven character activities came to mind:

1 – Work hard to build, create, survive, and excel (in purpose).

Laziness achieves nothing. Work for work’s sake creates little. Whatever our responsibilities, we need to do the work. Whatever our purpose, we need to do our important work. Getting our tempo right will take time. Through doing the work, our time will rise up, and our character will show its strength in purpose. Keep focused on your purpose horizon and do the work.

2 – Engage in tough conversations with empathy and action (don’t put them off).

The easy thing is to sidestep the tough conversations. We need to take deep breaths and determine how to engage in meaningful conversations that make a difference in what we say and what happens next. We cannot control what may happen next, but our character will be stronger if we interact with empathy.

3 – Nurture relationships that matter through good and challenging times (staying power, the power of love).

Too often, the first thing to go when times get challenging are our relationships. They have become almost disposable. Relationships that are damaging physically or psychologically are different. In those, safely leaving is the first step, and these times take strong character as well. Absent the damaging relationships, we need to try hard to make them work, no matter the place. Whether in our homes, neighborhoods, or workplaces, we need to nurture our relationships and find better paths forward.

4 – Exhibit humility in achievement and success (giving credit, giving back).

Be humble in all you do and say. Humility is not permission to be run over. Quite the opposite. See number 2. Humility is knowing we are stronger together than apart. Humility is giving all we have and doing it again.

5 – Be nice when everything tempts you not to be nice.

Being nice is not permission to be run over either. A quiet strength of character exists in being humble and nice. Build this character strength. One of the best professors I had was one of the nicest, kindest guys, but you did not want to skip the work. Being nice doesn’t mean low expectations. Too often, we want to play to the crowd and say outrageous things to incite or fit into one. Instead, we need to stand out by saying and doing things that are helpful.

6 – Always get up, no matter what, to create something better than the day before.

We will get knocked down and stepped on. Two things to remember. First, there is an old political adage that says “what goes around, comes around.” If someone is stepping on us, holding us back, or ignoring us, nature has a way of dealing with this, so focus on what you can do and do so with a strong sense of character. Second, keep getting up and creating what you are meant to do. After all, this is the only way your purpose will take root and begin to bloom.

7 – No task is too small and no person is too ordinary or extraordinary to extend a hand and help.

Never think or do things that make others feel small. Always pitch in no matter the task. Our hands are meant to be extended in a helpful way; it is why we have arms and elbows! We are designed to do the work, hug each other, and extend a helpful hand.

These are the things I know will build character. Each come from my experiences on the farm, school, college, work in politics and business, and family. How you build character may differ, which is okay. The point is to understand what builds your character and go do those things as often as you can.

David Brooks wrote an important book, The Road to Character, and I recommend it highly. I like this telling statistic and point he made in this NPR interview:

“My favorite statistic about this is that in 1950 the Gallup organization asked high school seniors: Are you a very important person? And in 1950, 12 percent said yes. They asked again in 2005 and it was 80 percent who said they were a very important person. So we live in a culture that encourages us to be big about ourselves, and I think the starting point of trying to build inner goodness is to be a little bit smaller about yourself.”

We need to remember to be big in our character and reduce the size of our personality. Personal brand chatter focuses too much on superficial things and too much on self-importance. If you want to build a sustainable personal brand, focus on your personal character early and often. Determine what will stand.

Today’s article was written by Jon Mertz and has been shared from the following website: https://www.thindifference.com/2016/01/what-builds-character/

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