Can it drive the improvement of one’s character?
Life throws a lot of demands at us, sometimes all at once. And it judges us by our characters. A powerful saying is, “Your character is determined by how you choose to respond to whatever your life throws at you.”
But how does one improve their own character?
As the data age grows, information grows exponentially, resulting in more images, more videos, more articles, and more opinions. Thoughts become more complex. Attention spans become shorter.
In the midst of all this, we can only think: I need clarity. Clarity is what drives the improvement of one’s character.
The pursuit of clarity has led me to pick up a few lessons along the way:
1. If it is not a definite yes then it is a definite no
Never again I will do anything for anyone that I do not feel directly from my heart. We are here to contribute to this world, but only with a good feeling. A contribution with a bad feeling just sends out bad energy.
No more questions about it. No more thinking about whether I did right or wrong. Is it a definite yes? If not, then it’s a definite no.
2. Giving yourself time
Are you glued to your phone or computer? Are you just consuming or do you intend to create something with it? Do you know your mind is the most engaging and happy when it is creating something?
Giving yourself time helps you nourish the child inside. It energizes you, and helps you connect to your subconscious. It shows you direction in life.
You can pray, or you can meditate. You can walk in a park. You can play a little music. Anything that doesn’t contribute to others, but to you only, is giving yourself time. You need that, even if it is for a small portion of each day.
3. Growing and experiencing
You may want to be the star in everyone’s lives around you and help them with their problems. Help them to the best of your abilities.
But how can you pour water into another’s mug when your own mug is empty? How can you help others when you don’t know what helps you?
Once you start listening to yourself, you will know what problems are in need of solving; you’ll know where you need to grow and what experience you have to get.
When you make peace with the fact that the purpose of life is not happiness, but rather experience and growth, happiness comes as a by-product.
4. Protect your time
How you spend your time defines who you are. Do not waste time, because you don’t want to waste yourself.
Do you want to understand where your time goes? Measure it. Divide tomorrow into 30 minute blocks with specific chores. You will sleep excited tonight.
Spend time with people you love, because working with people you do not love leaves you with the feeling that it has wrongfully consumed your time.
5. Desire to acquire the fundamentals
We are taught to desire money, fame, and materials. But these are secondary.
When you see the wise giving speeches about their success, they seem humble because their success is a surprise to them -- they didn’t actively pursue it. They consider sharing their knowledge to be a contribution to society.
It is tough, but when you can practice letting secondary desires go, you really are on your way.
Enough with what doesn’t really enhance who we really are. That’s the real art of de-cluttering.
6. Going mindless
Some call it journalling, some call it self-reflection. I call it going mindless. I write one page about what I did and did not do all day, and what I could have done better. After I am done, I have an empty mind -- one ready to fill with some joy before sleep.
Building character is a lengthy journey. It starts when we actively realize the need to seek clarity, and the improvement continues, on and off, till the end of life. If we are to effectively nurture and succeed at the demands life throws at us, we need to start accepting that we need better clarity.
Touhid Kamal uses anthropology to learn more on micro-cultures and human behaviour, and is a UX researcher and team culture builder. He can be reached at [email protected]