Why Character and Mission Always Lead
Life is full of ups and downs, and it is how you deal with the challenges and failures in life that sets you apart. Imagine a bad break in golf, a bad line call in tennis, or an unfair challenge as you are about to score in soccer – for many, the head would drop and they would be consumed with the “unfairness” of the situation. However, the sportsmen with character rise above the disappointment and draw upon additional determination to succeed, encouraging their team mates to take on their positive attitude. They never give up!
This is the character that makes people leaders. They are clear in their mission to succeed, and nothing will get in the way of success. When they fail because they were not good enough, they learn from the experience and work harder on their skills and stamina. How often have you heard a true sportsman acknowledge their loss, express their disappointment and then show their determination to succeed at the next attempt, or at some realistic future time. Once again this positive attitude inspires those around them, their team mates, trainers and fans, and is infectious in creating the winning way!
Many commentators note that “character, grit, discipline, self-esteem, self-confidence, sociability” are as important in a teenager high school experience, as the pure academic study and development of critical thought gained in the classroom. And the most important of these is character, as without character there is no reliable route ahead in relationships, friendships and business dealings. Managers in business often recruit for character, and then develop the skills in staff, knowing that developing character in someone later in life is unlikely.
If character is most important, how to develop it? Clearly the influences in the family are important, as well as the peer group of friends, and the teachers at school. But in my view the most important way to develop character is to test an individual, under pressure, have them experience challenges and failure, and learning to grow stronger through the lessons learned and under the guidance of the “mentor”, who may be a parent, teacher or sports coach. The most extreme challenges generally come from extreme situations, which is where pursuing a “passion” to a high level is such a positive developmental tool for students. It takes much hard work and perseverance to develop a golf swing, then add the short game skills and the mental disciplines, just as it does the tennis game, soccer game, equestrian skills, musical skills and so on. By taking on this passion to become a champion, the student learns the reward from hard work, learns how to gain determination from failure and then to enjoy the sweet taste of success. The champion learns how to develop purpose in everything they do, how to manage their time and how to set realistic goals to achieve the different stages of success, all important skills for life. The true champion inspires with their dedication, and through their achievements and character become the leaders in their community.