Vince Mercuri: The resolution of character
As the journey of 2019 begins, there are many unknowns as to what life’s twists and turns will bring. What we do know is that there will be a deluge of advertisements for weight loss and other self-improvement programs, fitness center packages and debt-reduction strategies.
While personal wellness is important to overall health, and the drive to accomplish should be applauded, few people manage to stay on course when trying to change habits. Research shows that less than 10 percent of resolutions are accomplished in a year, with most being abandoned within the first 30 days.
The drive to improve needs to move beyond the physical and financial areas to more internal characteristics that shape our relationships and daily decisions.
I am reminded of an old Irish proverb: “You have to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.”
Our character development is at the root of who we are. Our character impacts every aspect of our lives. We need to intentionally form habits steeped in ethical integrity. We are either moving forward or backward in the ongoing development of our character; there is no standing still.
There are six pillars of character development — trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship — that need to be acknowledged as valuable principles and developed into habits that will keep us rooted and steady through the storms of life.
We need to become students of character development, studying specific areas of our lives that need attention. A good question to ask yourself is, “Am I working harder on my image or on my integrity?” Once an area has been identified, a plan of action can be implemented.
Deepening these six pillars can dramatically improve the ethical quality of our decisions and thus our lives. It takes commitment and personal reflection to demonstrate such admirable traits, which reflect honesty, courage and a moral compass.
This personal inventory must begin with the premise that anything other than the truth is manipulation, and that our conduct reveals our true character. Truth is not some flexible concept that we can bend and shape to fit our own whims.
We need to be proactive and run toward our areas of concern or liabilities, not away from them. By conquering our weaknesses, we gain strength to face the next hurdle.
These six pillars of character development are immoveable, helping to steady us through life’s journey. Without them, a slow, silent decline can rot us from within.
Deepening integrity and developing character is a resolution we can all embrace.
Happy New Year!
Vince Mercuri, executive director of the Open Door Alcohol/Drug Treatment Center and Crisis Intervention Program in Indiana, Pa.,
is a member of the Valley News Dispatch Editorial Board.