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The third step in the gold refining process is called extracting. Remember, the first step is protecting or finding where the gold concentration is high enough to go to the next step—mining. Mining is separating the gold from the earth and taking it to the mill. Extracting is what happens in the mill is a complex process. First the rocks are crushed to the size of gravel and then crushed again to powder. The powder then goes through a series or screens, and chemical solvents are used in the extracting process, so what remains is mostly gold.
The third step in the character development process is learning. Just as gold goes through a myriad of steps to separate everything from the gold, character development goes through a purifying process involving activities such as studying, pondering, reflecting, meditating, reading, and even journal writing. Through this efforts, you will learn and unlearn what is necessary to build your character. This is a very private and personal exercise, and each person will learn and unlearn in his own unique way. What is common in the end, however, is making a commitment to live more fully according to natural laws—and more specifically, living out our strongest character traits more fully. The allegory of the three included the need for prayer and meditation as well as studying the scriptures and other inspirational literature. The intent there was to assist in helping your divine brain become the dominant brain. The learning that we are speaking of here is a continuation of that development. My experience has been that as I read, I feel that I am getting tutored on the changes and adjustments I need to make to be a better person. Even though I may have read certain passages many times over the years, I glean new meaning each time as my mind and heart are prepared to learn them anew.
None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.
As I have observed those who make a serious commitment to learning any field of endeavor, especially learning to build their character, they go through a similar learning process.
Study: As best as you can, study and absorb as much as you can about the character trait you want to develop.
Teach: The best way to know how much you have learned thus far and to assess the level of your mastery in any content is to teach it over and over again. Each time you teach you clarify things in your heart and mind. This would apply if you are trying to learn math as much as if you are trying to learn your patience. It also helps to teach to people of different ages. When you try to teach humility for example, it's a different experience trying to teach it to someone who is six, versus someone who is sixteen or who is sixty. Try it!
Apply: There's really no point in learning about developing character, if you don't apply it. Start small. Do a little before you do a lot. After applying what you have learned, start the process again as you learn even more.
For example, let's say I want to know about integrity. From studying the word, I know what integrity means to adhere to moral and ethical principles. From its root integer (as in whole numbers in math) to have integrity means to be whole. There's a story of a mother asking gandhi to tell her son to not eat sugar. Gandhi told them to come back in a week. The family returned, and gandhi told the boy to not eat the sugar. The mother wanted to know why they had to wait a week when he could have told the boy the same thing the week before. Gandhi said that he couldn't tell the boy to stop eating sugar the week before, because gandhi too was eating sugar. As in this gandhi story, having integrity means that what we say, do, think and feel are all the same, and they are integrated.
After studying the word integrity the next step to our learning process are to teach and apply. With my little research of the word integrity and the gandhi story to enhance my understanding (study), I could have a family meeting where my job is to share with my family what I have learned about integrity (teach) and make a commitment to them to live with more integrity in a particular area. Perhaps I could make a promise to make sure I show kindness every day to each member of the family (apply).
You can do the first step of learning through study on your own. Make up your mind that your divine brain will be your dominant brain. Be divinat. The influence of lizard-brain and monkey-brain thinking in society is strong, constant, and ubiquitous. Start and end each day with divine-brain thinking. The process of learning is really about developing and utilizing your divine brain the rest of the day. There are many levels involved. It is like an upward spiral. One example we covered is seeing the divine in others. One level of seeing the divine in another might be the ability to forgive. Another level above that may be the ability to forgive and forget. Have you ever forgiven someone but kept a mental file? Do you have a mental database where you keep records of the offences of another, and when you feel the urge, you pull up the file and remind the other person of her past offences? Perhaps another level may not be to entirely forget, but at least not be tempted to relive and rehash past sins. Perhaps the level above forgiving and forgetting is pre-forgiving, as we have mentioned. Each of these character traits you choose to focus on will have many levels within of them. The learning we are referring to here is a life-long journey of strengthening our character traits.
The teaching and applying we mentioned, is best done with someone else's help. Remember the allegory of the oxen pull and how we need each other to help pull life's load. Everything you have learned in this article will more likely be applied only with the help of someone else—probably someone from your advisory board.
Consider these statistics from the American society of training and development on the likelihood of achieving your goal.
Have a specific appointment with the person they committed to and give an accounting of their progress —95%
As we can see from the data it is more likely that you will apply what you have learned if you solicit help from an accountability adviser to keep yourself on track. The other important lesson we can glean here is that to help your loved ones stay in track, it is not enough to tell him what to do in such a way that he likes the idea (10 percent probability), but he needs you or someone else to report to and to hold him accountable. Getting to 95 percent likelihood of completing a goal is a matter of being thorough. As we commit to learning from without and growing from within, we are filling our reservoirs of character strength as well as preparing for the next step of our character development—refining.
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