In the process of writing my soon to be released book Character Disturbance (Parkurst Brothers Publishers – In Press, scheduled release: July 31, 2010), I assembled what experience has taught me are the most essential lessons a person must learn to develop a sound, responsible character. The “ten commandments” of character are just one of the major features of my new book that address what has to occur in a person’s character formation to enable them to function in a truly adaptive, pro-social way.
Here’s a brief, edited portion of one of the commandments excepted from the book:
You are neither an insignificant speck nor are you so precious or essential to the universe that it simply cannot do without you. Know where you fit in the grand scheme of things and keep a balanced perspective on your sense of worth. Thinking too much of yourself is as dangerous as thinking too little of yourself. Do not dismiss your accomplishments, but don’t laud yourself or lord over others any position or good fortune you’ve managed to secure. Avoid pretense. Keeping a balanced sense of self and being genuine will help you stay humble and avoid false pride.
Remember, you are not synonymous with your talents, abilities, or physical attributes. They are all endowments (i.e. fortunate accidents of nature, “gifts” of God, the universe) entrusted to you. Recognize where things really come from and give credit and recognition where credit and recognition are truly due. Who you are and how you are defined as a character are in large measure determined by what you do with what you’ve been given. The credit for your life and innate capabilities belongs to nature or, ultimately the creative force behind nature. The credit for what you do with all you’ve been given goes to you. This is the essence of merit. Honor the life force within you as well as all who might have nurtured your potential by using your gifts for the good of all. It’s not so much the outcome of your actions that matters either, for that’s also not entirely in your hands. It’s the effort you make that matters most. Judge yourself on your merits. Having appropriate reverence for what you’ve been given and honoring the creative force through your actions is the essence of both genuine humility and healthy self-respect.
Character Disturbance is the culmination of years of working with irresponsible individuals and those in relationships with them. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting other excerpts in advance of the book’s wide release this summer.