Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
~ Abraham Lincoln
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
~ Helen Keller
I recently came across an interesting illustration that served as a cover to a book published in 1899 called Traits of Character Illustrated in Bible Light by Henry F. Kletzing. I thought it was a thorough examination of the the qualities of true character. Here is a replica of the cover made into a poster:
I’m fascinated by the design of the cover. Is it just a list of the traits of character or is it a map showing how the traits are combined to generate a result, such as “princely manhood?” I won’t attempt to give you my own interpretation, but I do encourage you to look closely at the cover and ponder its meaning. What insight do you gain? If you have time, share your insights in the comments below the post.
For those who may have trouble seeing the poster, here is a list of the traits of character that lead to power according to Mr. Kletzing:
Virtue, purity, honor, courage, faith, fidelity, economy, decision, industry, push, integrity, tact, concentration, perseverance, promptness, persistence, consistency, cheerfulness, contentment, heroism, sincerity, self help, self reliance, self possession, self control, self confidence, self respect, adaptability, ambition, patience, truth, grit, charity, enthusiasm, grip, energy, benevolence, princely manhood, pluck, plod, nerve, and zeal.
That is quite a list. Acquiring all of the traits is a lifetime pursuit, but I’m confident you have one or more of those attributes already and are working on a few more. What does that mean? It means you have the foundation for power in your leadership.
Leadership is a privilege given by those who follow. People tend to follow those who believe what they believe. These traits are universal principles of greatness that many people believe in. As you work to incorporate them into your own character, you will increase the power in your leadership.
Choose to develop character. Choose greatness.