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Throughout most of the world a great emphasis has been placed on the importance of formal education. Families, corporations, and governments alike recognize that the health and progress of a nation and indeed the world are affected by the improvement of the mind. Our standard of living is better because of technology and innovation born of education. There is also growing information in the realm of emotional intelligence. In Daniel Goleman's book Emotional intelligence, he declares that emotional intelligence redefines what it means to be smart. He presents how emotional intelligence (EQ) can matter more than IQ. When it comes to our physical well-being, there is also much that has been written in the areas of health, exercise, nutrition, medicine, and so forth. We see people living together than ever. We athletes who are stronger, bigger, faster, and their careers are lasting longer. We continually make improvements in understanding and combating disease.
Despite all of these advancements, our society still faces the same weaknesses because of character flaws. Such weakness manifests itself when we see greed in our corporations and governments, selfishness in relationships, apathy and indifference towards the suffering of others, feelings of insecurity and hopelessness, violence—basically lizard-brain and monkey-brain behavior. Character development like other intelligences requires our time and attention in order for us to improve.
We'll identify ideas to lift our character. We have covered them, but let's organize them in the context of applying them in the allegory of flight and in our time-management tool that we will cover at the end of this article.
Prospect, mine, and extract your character traits.
Be divinative. Begin and end your day with prayer or meditation as well as scripture study or reading inspirational literature. If you look at one of the reasons why some organizations are better than others, it is because they have something that distinguishes them and makes them unique compared to others. Similarly, if we are going to improve, we need to have insights that we didn't have before. Beginning and ending your day with divinative activities lends itself to gaining more insights. Why would this be the case? Because you are more likely be in “insight reception” mode when you pray or meditate first thing in the morning and as you ponder on the day you just had during the evening, as opposed to being in a to-do list mode as soon as you wake up. In the past few months of writing this article, for example, I have had an acceleration of personal insights early in the morning. I have received more insights early in the morning than the steady insights I have received from years of experiences that led me to write this article in the first place. Think back on those times when out of the blue you received that flash of brilliance, and you come up with a great idea. Imagine having more of them more often. Commit to beginning and ending your day in the divine-brain mode. What would keep you from being divinative? Procrastination. You might think, “I'll do the divine brain stuff later—right after I do a couple of really pressing things.” resist temptation to procrastinate. Be divinative first thing in the morning, and have your prayer or meditation time. Depending on the day, you could find yourself beginning your day in crisis mode, and then going from one fire to the next from sunrise to bedtime. Using flight analogy, it's tough to achieve flight if you are weighed down all day long.
Pre-forgive yourself. When you Pre-forgive yourself, you affirm yourself. You remind yourself that you are a person of great worth who deserves patience and another chance. What would weigh us down is being overly critical of ourselves and feeling guilty. Feeling guilty can be a great warning system that tells us to change our course, but when guilt does nothing more than paralyzed us, then it is self-defeating.
prospect, mine, and extract. Going back to the article of the five golden rings, identify your character strengths, make the necessary sacrifice to develop your strongest character traits, and seek to improve through study and application.
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