The wonderful thing about being a human being is that you are free to shape and sculpt your own character. You can make new choices and decisions at any time of life, especially with regard to your values, and begin acting as if you had those values already.
Perhaps the measure essence of happiness is your ability to achieve the three common goals of self-respect, self-esteem and personal pride that everyone wants. It is only when you have these three in sufficient quantities that you feel really good about yourself.
Here’s a Key Question for You
Who are the people in your life that you respect the most? Who are the
people whose respect for you is the most important? The very act of
identifying the people who you most respect, and then determining how you would need to behave to earn their respect is a turning point for many
If you respect and you associate with people with high standards, you begin to raise your standards to their level and become a better person at the same time.
The second part of happiness is personal pride. Personal pride comes from
knowing you are living up to the very best that is in you. Personal pride
arises when you do an excellent job at something that has been assigned to
you, or at something that is important to you.
“Doing your best is more important than being the best.” This simple bit of
advice can change your entire attitude toward life and work.
Shakespeare wrote, “Too thine own self be true and then it must follow, as
the night the day, that thou canst not then be false to any man.”It is only when you do your very best that you know you are being completely true to yourself.
In your heart, you know that personal excellence, being a fine person in every respect, requires excellent performance in your work and at your tasks.
Men and women with high self-ideals, which they refuse to
compromise, are the leaders and the role models in our societies. They
usually rise to the top of great organizations. They are our ideals of what an excellent human being can be.
Your self-image is defined as the way you see yourself and think about yourself in the present, in the “now.” How you see yourself largely determines how you perform in any situation.
Men and women with positive self-images tend to be positive, confident
One of the great breakthroughs in psychology in the 20th century is our
discovery that you can change your performance by changing your mental
pictures. In fact, all improvement in your life begins with an improvement in
the way you see yourself and think about yourself on a minute-to-minute
If you take a few moments prior to any event or situation and create a
clear mental picture of yourself performing at your best, you will always tend to perform better in that situation than if you neglected to do it.
This happens because you have a deep down feeling that you are moving toward becoming more and more like the person that you most ideally want to be. This is why it is so important to have clarity.
Your self-esteem is the most important part of your personality, and it is only when you are living up to the very best within yourself that you enjoy high self-esteem. It is only when you have high self-esteem that you are truly happy.
Write down the five qualities that are most important to you. These
can be values like love, freedom, family, success, creativity, music, service, sincerity, generosity, courage, persistence, straight-forwardness and so on.
The starting point of your becoming an outstanding human being is for you to be absolutely clear about the values that make up your own personal code, your own personal philosophy.
How can you tell what your values really are? Simple. You always express
your values in your actions and behaviors.
It is not what you say, or wish, or hope, or intend. It is only what you do that counts. It is only your actions, when you are forced to choose among options, that demonstrate what you truly believe and what your values really are.
Good values are life-enhancing. Poor values are life destroying. Let me give you an example.
A good question for you to ask is this. If your friends and associates were to be interviewed privately and asked, “What would you say his or her values really are today?’ What do you think the people around you would say about you?
Seneca, the Greek philosopher of stoicism, once wrote that, “If you desire to have a certain reputation among your fellow men, act in all respects as
though you already had the reputation that you desire.”
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
The first question is this, “What kind of a world would my world be, if
everyone in it was just like me?” The second question is, “What kind of a
country would my country be, if everyone in it was just like me?” The third
question is, “What kind of a company would my company be, if everyone in it was just like me?” And the fourth question is, “What kind of a family would my family be, if everyone in it was just like me?”
If you are being completely honest with yourself you will probably find that you have some areas where you could improve in one or more of the answers to those questions.
The most important quality in the development of human character is, and
always has been, self-discipline. This is your ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.
When you make a firm, unequivocal decision, in a world of rapid change, to stand up for certain principles and values, and to never compromise them, you put yourself onto the high road to becoming an outstanding individual.
And when you become an outstanding individual, your future will be