Character test Featured

6:36am EDT May 30, 2003
The true test of a person's character doesn't come when things are going well, but when they are going badly.

Today, as the business climate becomes more competitive, we are forced to multitask if we want to be well-rounded in all areas of our life.

But multitasking doesn't account for unforeseen events that throw us off. It could be an illness or death in the family, a project at work that unexpectedly comes up or a well-laid plan gone awry. These can affect us in a number of different ways.

We can be receptive, embrace the unexpected as part of life and accept the good with the bad, or we can become angry and embittered and look at this event as something we didn't ask for that was imposed upon us.

Two different people can have the same event happen to them and react in two completely different ways. It all has to do with attitude.

Here are four ideas to help keep the event in the right perspective.

1. Accept the reality. We cannot control circumstances around us. As much as we'd like to be in control of everything, we are not. It is important to realize this and take it to heart.

2. Take an inventory to put things in perspective. Look at all that we have. We live in America, we have freedom and we have nice cars and a place to live. Two billion people in the world live on less than a dollar a day. This exercise puts in perspective how much we really have.

3. Sacrifice is important. It's not always about us. In the military, a soldier would never leave an injured soldier on the field to die by himself. Sometimes we can get too self-absorbed and forget about the needs of others.

4. Nothing lasts forever. Sometimes we need to put on our game face and make the best of it. Look at the unexpected as a temporary setback from our own agenda. This may surprise us to our own benefit.

The true test of character will come for all of us sooner or later. When it does, remember that people are watching. It is important, especially in a leadership role, to be a good example for those around you.