Conflict Creates Character
Character isn't something you were born with and can't change, like your fingerprints. It's something you weren't born with and must take responsibility for forming. - Jim Rohn
“ Good morning sir ! If you're here for breakfast, I have the perfect table for you,” claimed the tall strapping young man, as he shook my hand and led the way to a two seater, close to the breakfast bar. I knew that Hilton provided a decent breakfast, but this treatment was more on par with a five star restaurant. “ My name is Michael” ( not his real name…). I introduced myself , told him what I would like to drink, and Michael sprang into action. He arrived back at my table in a nanosecond with a smile on his face, and the next few minutes of conversation seemed to stop time.
With my urging, this pleasant twenty eight year old gave me the run down on his personal story. Originally from Georgia, he was one of the only members of his family to attend college. Somewhere along his sophomore year of school, Michaels parents were driving to visit him, and were involved in a fatal car accident. Both of them died. Michael was devastated, but believed his parents would've wanted him to finish his education. He told me with a glimmer in his eyes that on every test, in every class, and on each final; he pictured his parents delighting in his progress. Experiencing tough financial times, Michael spent the duration of his senior year living out of his SUV. He said, on cold nights, he would look for 24 hour diners where he could at least warm himself with a cup of coffee. He would wash up in the college bathrooms. After years of perseverance, Michael graduated with a Masters degree in engineering and recently accepted a position with a well known central Florida aerospace company. He still worked as a waiter for Hilton on a part time basis, he told me, “ to never forget where I came from. “ Soon, he would embark on his new career as an engineer.
With tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, I was so moved. The only thing I could do was reach out and give him a big papa hug. I told him that he was already a success, because true success is not measured by our bank account, but by the riches that grow out of the wealth of our heart and spirit. He successfully looked adversity in the eye, and was not deterred from his goals. He stayed the course.
To every person trials must come. Everyone experiences conflict, adversity and challenges. These experiences can make us bitter or eventually make us better; depending on how we process them. The Greek word for “ character “ means to “ be marked or etched”. Life's experiences make an impression on us . Conflict marks and etches us. Sometimes, adversity can cut us very deeply. I have observed though, people who choose to think more like a victor and less like a victim, emerge on the other side of conflict with a tremendous depth of character. Many times, those who suffer much love much. Just like my new friend Michael, they choose to move forward despite the pain and the hurt. We don't deny the existence of the hurt or pain. The key is in not allowing it to consume our life.
Are you going through a season of conflict right now in your job, career, or personal life ? Take responsibility for the things you have the power to change, and let go of the rest. Focus on becoming a better you from this situation. Don't throw in the towel. Wrap the towel tightly around your hand ,and keep pressing on !
You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. - Jim Rohn