When we set goals or expectations we start with the what, but rarely do we consider the who. We identify what it is we want to accomplish or gain or acquire, but forget to determine who the man is that we want to become.
We leave our most important and precious goal, blank. And few men ever take the time to put pen to pad and discover who it is they’re trying to be.
Well, that’s a problem we’ll have to remedy.
Don’t have idols, but by all means have models.
Every man is flawed. Even the best among us has a dark side, a weak side, something he’d rather keep hidden or something he wants fixed. Don’t put any man on a pedestal, but having models is important.
To know who you want to become, take the best characteristics from the best men and aspire to make them your own. (Read This: Why You Don’t Need a Mentor)
The other day I sat down to identify specifically who I wanted to become, and where I want to head in this life from a self-development outlook. First, I wrote down my models, here are a handful of them and the characteristics I want to possess:
Christ: compassion, wisdom, toughness, unflinching adherence to his purpose and unwavering moral compass.
Robert E. Lee: adherence to values and virtues he deems importance, without the swaying influence of the masses, his superiors or anyone else’s input, discipline.
Theodore Roosevelt: action, audacity, courage, work ethic, energy.
Napoleon: thirst for knowledge, ambition.
John Wayne – both the man and his characters: bluntness, masculinity, pride, grit.
My old man: silence, thoughtfulness, mindfulness.
My dear mother: caring, intuitiveness.
There are others, but the list could go on for a while.
With the main characteristics in place, I especially focused on a few characteristics that I’d like to strengthen in my own persona that are important for any man to possess if he’s to do good work while he’s here and not waste talent nor time.
As an example, I’ll use some of what I wrote.
The man I’m becoming has a clear vision of the virtues that he wants to possess as a part of who he is, his character. Popular opinion can’t sway this knowledge. He’s proud of who he is and who he’s becoming and where he’s come from.
His intentions are true. He does things for the right reasons, which don’t include greed nor the desire to show off or impress anyone, ever. He does what he does for the betterment of his own life, to glorify God and to not waste whatever talent he’s been blessed with.
He’s a worker. He works for the sake of the work and not necessarily for what they work may bring him.
He has a firm understanding that with each breath he moves closer to death. He sees how time can easily be wasted and the utter uselessness of time not spent enjoying life, experiencing its wonders, thrills, even its pain, failure, and defeat. To do nothing, to welcome ease as a daily companion is merely waiting to die, and he reminds himself of this everyday.
He is where he is, never distracted by his phone or what he has to do in ten minutes. When he talks to people he listens to people. He cares about people. He’s generous not just with the dollar bills but with his time and energy.
He’s disciplined. To go along with the knowledge of what helps and what hurts him he has the strength to stay away from the garbage that consumes most lives. He appreciates the value of time and he respects it.
Finally, he seeks adventure and walks into his fears. Life cannot be truly experienced on a couch. Death must be around the corner if you’re to fully understand how great and wondrous life and be, so he dares mightily. He is fully in the arena of life, not a spectator, a critic, a gossip, a liar, but a doer.
We can all grasp that our future depends solely on what we do today, yet we waste our minutes and hours on meaningless, trivial things.
I’m of this group, not pointing down from above, but in it, wasting the most precious commodity in the world; time. (Read This: Time Is Limited. Take Action)
There are things in our daily lives that are important to constantly be aware of. Knowing precisely who it is we want to become, rather than determining what it is that we want to buy, will lead us to live rather than waste, serve rather than purchase, and work rather than critique.
My example is just that, an example. Find your won models, virtues, and values, and work them in to the man you are well on your way to becoming.