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Once the gold is refined, the next step depends on how the gold will be used. Let's pause here for a little bit and take an inventory of what we have explored thus far, and look at the commitments you are considering making.
Be divinative. Have your divine brain be your dominant brain. Its intelligence, compared to the lizard brain and monkey brain, is as brilliant as the light of the noon-day sun compared to the moon and stars.
Commit to piloting your life towards a culture of being more, and not just doing more.
See and treat time as opportunity measured in units of possibilities.
Make a commitment to repeatedly go through the growing pains in the Zigzag Path to Growth, even if it doesn't feel good at the moment. It will, however, feel great later, as you get ever closer to realizing your mission.
Commit to prayer or meditation and studying scriptures or other inspirational material as you begin and end your days in the divine-brain mode.
Keep in mind that you have three-lives; your personal life, your private or family life, and your public life or your life in the community at large. Remember they are all important. This is the allegory of the three-combination lock.
Identify your strongest character traits, and be consistent in being and doing what you already know you should be and do.
Make the necessary sacrifice of yourself and of your time to develop your character.
As the world-class musician, athlete, or scholar with a strict regimen, makes the necessary sacrifice and is also a student of her craft, commit to learning and improving.
Apply to your home what you have learned in the building of your character.
Like painting a masterpiece one brush stroke at a time, commit to consistently make small improvements that will help you be the person you want to be.
Commit to other insights you have gained as a result of these allegories.
Wow! As you deliberately and progressively follow through on these commitments, you are prepared to make any contribution you want to make. You are pure gold. The allegory of the golden rings is about building character, it is interesting to note that when you look at the history of the word character,it comes from the 14th century Greek word “kharakter”, which means an engraved mark. Gold is a soft metal, which makes it easier to engrave, compared to other harder metals. As we all go through the character-purifying process of identifying character traits that we want to emulate in our lives, being and doing what we already know we should (prospecting 1, 2 ), making the necessary sacrifice to focus and improve further (mining), diligently learning and unlearning to elevate our understanding (extracting), and applying our character in the crucible of the home (refining), our hearts and minds will be sufficiently softened, allowing us to then engrave upon them the character traits that we want to live by. Such softening and the engraving of both our character and confidence onto our beings, will prepare us to make the kind of contributions we want to make to society. If, on the other hand, we are hard-headed or hard-hearted,. Engraving anything new on our hearts and minds may prove to be a difficult task. As a parent or executive, have you ever found it difficult to help someone change her character? It's because she was too hard-headed and hard-hearted. There's no way around but to go through a process of softening both the heart and mind.
Here's another interesting tidbit. Consider a thin strip of metal like tin, for example. As you bend it back and forth, eventually the strip of metal will break in two. It is also the case when gold is worked, even though it is a softer metal. With gold, however, if you reheat and liquefy it through the refining process, the gold can regain its soft and moldable state again. Similarly, whenever you find yourself getting getting worked and hardened by the challenges of your day-to-day activities and feel as if you might break, keep going back to this character development process, from revisiting and being grateful for your strength and character, to spending time and effort getting refined in the crucible of your home, and you will find that you can be softened again, have the engraved mark of character imprinted deeper in your soul. Then you can continue to make your unique contributions.
Being able to contribute in a significant way requires not just that our hearts and minds be aligned, but add to that a feeling of stewardship. When you look at people who have made significant contributions in their lives, they are people with great character, ability, and passion. Not only did they feel strongly about their causes, but they had the faith and ability to impact those causes, and they felt that tug or that call that says they are here on earth for that purpose. In a conversation with a friend, I asked him if he discovered his life's calling. He replied, “oh yeah, I got the call. I just put it on hold.” as you go through this fifth allegory of the five golden rings, you will get a sense of the engraving of your character, and as you do, you will hear your call more audibly in your heart and mind—the unique contribution you need to make. Don't put your life's calling on hold; answer it.
Success is not built on what we accomplish for ourselves. Its foundation lies in what we do for others.
Back to using Gold. Gold is generally too soft for practical use, so other metals are generally added to it. For example, some prefer white gold over yellow gold for jewelry. White gold is made by combining nickel or silver with the gold. Red or pink gold is an alloy combining gold with copper. Likewise, having a great character is not enough. Being competent in your field of work needs to be added to make a contribution. Being competent in a particular discipline combined with weak character is what fills the evening news with people who were once held up as role models, but are now criminals. Strong character with insufficient competence is also not enough. They are the wonderful people of the world who never seem to get the right breaks, get frustrated, and wonder whether having high character is worthwhile.
Balancing great character with great competence gives us great confidence. Having both enables us to make contributions and allows us to impact others in significant ways. Remember the achievements cycle in the allegory of the four seasons. We begin with the achievements we want. We identify the character traits we need to draw from. From there we develop and align our thoughts and feelings. Getting the results and achievements we want, requires the cultivation of our minds and talents. In a global economy and with change happening at an accelerated rate, part of your time needs to be allotted to the development of your mind.
Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
Like combining other metals to gold to create a usable alloy, combining character with competence allows us to make significant contributions. As we have done with the previous allegories, let's take a look at the questions this allegory is supposed to answer.
Question: where and how do I start in my quest to develop my character? Answer: after Establishing a strong desire to develop you character, commit to the following process that parallels the refining and use of gold.
Prospecting: Identify your strongest character trait and continue to live by it.
Mining: Make the necessary sacrifice so you can make time to focus on the development of your character.
Extracting: Study and learn to make your strengths even stronger.
Refining: Diligently apply your character strength in your home.
Use of gold: Apply your character strength in all your roles.
These some processes are used to achieve excellence in anything. Think of someone who has excelled and is the very best in her field, whether that is in the arts, music, sports, or any profession. Can you see how he or she has applied the following steps in an effort to master her craft?
He is diligently in what he knows he should already be doing (Prospect)
He sacrifices and reallocates his time to make a concerted effort and focus toward improving (Mine)
He is constantly learning and he is a student of his craft (Extract)
She is committed to those relationships that will help her to excel (Refine)
She goes beyond sacrifice and gives her full devotion to bless the lives of others (Use of gold)
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