Last week I spoke on the subject of faulty perceptions.
The key point was to not allow someone else’s judgments to cloud your own. There’s another element, however, that I didn’t cover: Your reputation—good or bad—tends to precede you. Sure, you might be able to cover up a character flaw, but not for long.
Here’s an example: I am notorious for over committing myself. This is an area that requires my utmost attention. Being overcommitted is not a sign of strong character.
It actually makes me look like someone with no focus or vision.
Nothing is more embarrassing than telling someone you can’t do something because of carelessness. No matter how much grace the other person extends, it still highlights your own irresponsibility.
What does this have to do with faulty perception?
Most flaws are character flaws, not personality flaws. Maybe you’re really struggling with punctuality or honesty or gratefulness. These issues have nothing to do with your personality! They have everything to do with a lack of strong character.
The good news is that strong character is developed like any muscle—with discipline.
I realize that some of us have greater obstacles to overcome than others. If you don’t know what to do, just start somewhere. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to pursue excellence. Write out a list of three to five things you can do to become a person of better character. Be proactive and accept responsibility for your current situation.
Don’t be a victim.
Take back control of your life and stop letting bad character affect your reputation.
And remember: The best way to receive grace is to extend it to others. Help a friend who’s fighting against the current, who’s working hard to make vital changes. Your encouragement might just be what keeps them on the right path.