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Gold present in almost all rocks and soil, But in most instances it is in such small quantities that it is invisible to the naked eye.
Only in those areas where the concentration is large enough, is it profitable to mine gold.
Scientists, sometimes referred to as prospectors, look for areas where there are higher concentrations of gold—enough to take the next step—mining.
Similarly, when we consider character traits we wish to develop, all of them exist in every person.
All of the wonderful character traits mankind has ever had exist within each of us, to varying degrees.
With each individual, like the gold in soils and rock, metaphorically speaking, different character traits are in great abundance, while other character traits are invisible to the naked eye.
You may recognize that compassion, for example, exists in great abundance and concentration within one individual, and exists in less visible quantities within another individual regardless, compassion is there.
Certainly all character traits are worth mining, so to speak, but we want to work on those traits that we have in the greatest abundance and purity.
Let's go back to the prospecting of gold.
Sometimes when prospectors find deposits of gold, it is indeed pure gold.
In most of the gold deposits, however, gold is combined with other metals such as silver.
It requires further investigation to determine the amount of gold that exists in the area.
When these gold deposits are found, scientists will drill down below the surface, gather samples, and analyze further to decide whether the amount of gold present is worth the effort to mine.
Much as gold can be found in purity in some cases, but combined with other metals most of the time, so are our character traits.
They are intermingled.
For example, the character trait of charity more than likely is connected with the character traits of service and empathy.
This is a wonderful thing, because as we give focus on developing one character trait, we can't help but build other character traits as a natural byproduct.
Our initial effort is in figuring our which character trait to work on first.
Choosing character traits to focus on first isn't intended to limit us, but it's simply entended to select our strongest ch traits to build a foundation.
Ask yourself which character traits are worth your time and effort to mine, refine, and ultimately use first.
These are a couple of tests we can do, much as the prospectors drill down and analyze, to choose their priorities.
The first suggestion is to think of character traits in people whom you admire and would want to emulate in your own life.
There are certain qualities we admire in others, because with some, we see those same traits already in ourselves.
We just want to magnify them or bring them closer to our lives.
Just as prospectors sometimes need to look below the surface of the earth to find high concentrations of gold, so we need to look more deeply and introspectively.
However, we already know (don't we?) in our hearts of hearts, what we can be (as it relates to character) even if others don't know.
There are some character traits you may have carefully hidden from others.
Those hidden traits needs to come out to bless your life and contribute to those around you.
Another suggestion would be solicit the help of your advisory board that was mentioned in the allegory of the oxen pull.
Soliciting the help of your advisory board is analogues to scientists gathering samples to analyze the concentration of gold.
Your advisory board members have enough samples of your strongest character traits that they have gathered about you over the years.
You may not choose to ask all of them, but there are those with whom you can comfortably have a frank conversation about your character traits.
You will find that as you ask multiple members of your advisory board.
You will hear patterns and recurring themes that will let you know where your greatest strengths lie and what your strongest character traits are.
You may have a tendency to be shy about your character traits, and especially if one of them is humility.
Identifying your character traits is not about being prideful, but it's “learning from without” sufficiently so that you may grow from within. It's ultimately not just about building a culture of being more personally, but also about knowing the best way to contribute to your loved ones and to humanity.
In that spirit, after you have drilled down and done your analysis, what are does character traits that you would want to refine to pure gold?
Write a few of them down.
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