REPUTATION is what folks think you are, personality is what your physical appearance makes of you while character is what you really are. Before us lies two paths, one of which is paved with character. Wise ones embark on the path of character while the ignorant and uncaring journey on the other.
Before we delve into developing character, we need to define character. Awareness of the definition of character will point you in the right direction but it is up to you to walk the path of character.
Character is the core of what you are. It is what you do, the way you live, how you treat others, your responses and the choices you make. It is who you are in private, when nobody is looking. Character is what governs your life, it isn’t compromising, it is not saying one thing and doing another.
It is more than knowing right from wrong. It is acting on the principle of what is right. People of character live with nothing to hide and nothing to prove. They walk with freedom and security. They think before they act, practice self control, delay gratification, walk their talk, are trustworthy and persevere in tough times. They seek the wisdom of others and apply it in their daily lives. They are not superficial. What you see is what you get. They value themselves knowing that life has no duplicate. Simply, your behaviour is your character, character is living your life by a standard, ideology or principles.
Character is doing what you ought to do whether you like it or not. It is integrity, which does not compromise right. A person of character does not cut corners in life, he is consistent, treats others with respect and follows through with his commitments. Character means desiring to make wise decisions, willing to learn, being aware of the consequences of his actions.
Also, character is a choice. And choices determine where you go, what you get, who you become and the success you make. When you think, plan, create, hate, build or help, you are making choices. In life, every step you take is a choice you make. Life is about choices which is why character is a choice.
You may have made some mistakes in your past. Today I offer you a fresh start and opportunity to walk with me and grow in ways that you have never imagined. I want you to imagine for a moment that you are starting to build the house of your dreams. Now, you don’t want this house to cave in on you while you are sleeping, or when the first storm comes. This house is your home. You are going to live there the rest of your life. So you will want to build it with strong materials, because you want this house to be strong.
In essence, this is a metaphor for your life. You are going to be in your body for a lifetime. Do you build your character, which is the core of your being with unstable materials? The choice is yours. So, making better choices in life starts with asking better questions. Great wisdom comes from the counsel of others. It’s taking the time to ask your peers about the choices laid before you. Make sure you asked someone who is willing to give you the best advice regardless of how you feel, or whether you will get mad at him.
Take the time to the think about your choices.
Character starts with personal responsibility. Soar with the strength of your own wings. When I think of my life I think of the words: personal responsibility. We are responsible for our lives. I can’t tell you how many times people come up to me complaining about their lives. What they are really doing is blaming others for their problems or lack of success. There are so many people in this country who lack character. This is true of the world we live in, so watch out!
When they disagree with you, some of them would want to hurt you. They will revenge for your success, throw mud at you. Others could do worse, slandering you without reason, out of jealousy. They do so out of lack of character, they don’t know what personal responsibility is. Their beliefs about responsibility are jaded by falsehood and compromise. People of character accept personal responsibility for their lives. People of character know that even sometimes they have to claim ownership to something that wasn’t even their fault. Being responsible is being a giant when it comes to having solid character. If the archer missed the target, he has no one to blame but himself. You are the archer, you have no one to blame but yourself if you are not succeeding. No one owes you a single favour, not the guy next door nor your parents. You were born with your own set of wings designed for the purpose of soaring. If you are not using your wings, no one is to blame. You have to take responsibility for your own life.
For our champion of today, let us visit the face-off between Mr. Justice Isa Ayo Salami, the President of the Federal Court of Appeal and Mr. Justice Katsina Alu, the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi foresaw these problems when in a 2001 interview I anchored for Newswatch, he said our judiciary was poorly managed. He argued that judgements of both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court were minority judgements, that the entire membership of the court should be judging the cases, not committees of them.
Surprisingly, Britain dumped that committee system when Tony Blair, the British Premier created the Supreme Court for Britain in 2001. Britain adopted the American judicial system which Gani advocated during his lifetime. The architect of the American system is our champion for today. He is John Marshall 1755 – 1835. He was born near Germantown in Virginia, USA the fourth chief justice of the United States and founder of the U.S. system of constitutional law, including the doctrine of judicial review. During his tenure, he participated in more than a thousand decisions, writing 519 of them himself.
Educated by tutors, John Marshall was the eldest of 15 children of Thomas Marshall and Mary Keith Marshall. John was licensed to practise law in 1780 and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1782 and 1784. He established in Virginia both a brilliant law practice and a home after marriage to Mary Ambler in 1783. He was elected delegate to the National Convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution. In 1795, President George Washington tendered him appointment as Attorney General, which Marshall declined Marshall however accepted membership of commission by President John Adams. Thereafter, he was elected a member of the House of Representatives from Virginia.
In 1800, President Adams appointed Marshall as the Secretary of State but due to a vacancy at the Supreme Court he was nominated for Chief Justice which senate approved in 1801. At the Supreme Court, Marshall set out for reform. From the committee system he inherited, he adapted court to judgements by all the members. Thereafter it became the general rule that there was only one single opinion from the Supreme Court. This change of practice contributed to make the U.S.
Supreme court a more effective institution. It is this kind of change we need in our dispensation of justice. Let all members of the Supreme Court decide each case that reaches it instead of a committee of cronies chosen by the Chief Justice.
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