By Rita Okoye I f there is anything Nollywood actress, Uche Elendu wants badly; it is the freedom to glide on commercial motorcycle (okada) as a way of beating the Lagos traffic. Also, rather than delegate responsibility, she would love to patronize popular markets where she can haggle freely with market women. “I want to…
She was very successful in every sense of the word. A combination of beauty and brains. Aside from a healthy asset base, she owned two sleek automobiles and her vacations were spent in exotic locations overseas. She shopped in the most exclusive outlets, and redefined power dressing. Career wise she was on top of her game, operating in the big league in her industry and the world was at her feet.
Popularly referred to as Margaret Thatcher, both within family and office circles, she was the no-nonsense technocrat. That weekend, she drove to the country side for the thanksgiving service of her younger brothers who wedded the previous weekend.
As the event drew to a close that Sunday, her mother gave instructions for certain foodstuff and vegetables to be distributed among the siblings. Suprisingly not even a bottle of palm oil was taken to her car. When she queried her mother over what she assumed was an oversight, the response was: “I didn’t think you would need any of these since you don’t cook. Do you now cook?”
There was pin drop silence as mother and daughter appraised each other. Enraged, she stormed out of the house. In a daze, she stumbled to her car, hardly waiting for the usual blessings given her father before departure after every family gathering. She arrived her destination deeply troubled. In her anger, she did not bid farewell to other family members, including the new bride. This would mean a fresh addition to the number of people who misunderstood her.
Come to think of it, wasn’t she misunderstood by everyone? Hasn’t the boss warned that her poor temperament was robbing her of precious relationships? The man even had the effrontery to declare it was a repellant to potential suitors. She resisted the temptation to give the man a piece of her mind for his unsolicited advice; after all he was the boss. That night, she made an unbiased assessment. In that moment of epiphany, she acknowledged her weakness and decided to confront the issue headlong. Boss lady made a switch, it was a deliberate effort, difficult initially but in one year, she made a 360-degree character transformation culminating in the long prayed for wedding.
Character shapes our lives and determines our destiny. You may have received this message making the rounds on social media: “People sometimes pray for miracles to happen, what you need is character, not praying in tongues….if you lack good relationship with people you will hardly be blessed ….Sometimes we are our demons…..you suffer not because you lack talent but because you lack character.”
The inference is that life is about choices, typically our decisions are implemented via our actions which shape habits and character trait. Anyone can rule his world by the choices made. Etiquette confers mastery over behavioral tendencies of an individual.
Character is so powerful that it determines the lifespan of success. It takes one character flaw for the gains of talent to crumble like a badly stacked pack of cards. The global crisis in leadership is traceable to endemic character deficit.
When lenders consider loan requests, credit worthiness of a potential borrower is premised on the five C’s of credit: character, capacity, collateral and conditions. Unknown to many the most important of these key indices is character. Lenders do not extend facilities primarily because they can take recourse to collateral, the weight of credibility is based on the character of the individual. A borrower may have the capacity to pay but deliberately choose not to honour an obligation. Therefore the decision to advance a loan is a matter of satisfactory check on the character of the individual. Ultimately, the main cover for any exposure is the character. The import of this analogy is that life will front load innumerable benefits where good character is established.
Character consists of individual traits, the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. Although some studies show that certain anti-social behaviours are genetic, recent studies have also proven that personality traits are not necessarily products of nature, rather they are nurtured. We see this line of thought validated by the behaviour of an individual who typically places premium on any circumstance where value is perceived. The short circuited individual who flies off the handle at the drop of a hat, is most patient with his superiors at work. The tough talking military officer is a loving spouse and doting father at home. A suitor puts up impeccable behaviour before his bride throughout courtship, successfully masking character flaws. The husband who disrespects his wife actually went on his knees to pop the big question. This indicates that good character can be cultivated.
You can choose to be honest, patient, considerate, respectful, humble, hospitable, charitable, and cultivate other sterling qualities of good character. The implication is that we can cultivate good character where we see value, meaning that we can learn, re-learn and most importantly unlearn any delictum.
One of the most revered citizens of our time is late Nelson Mandela, his global fame was not earned because of a long period of incarceration, but by virtue of uncommon character. Martin Luther King Jnr. dreamt of a day when character will form the basis of human judgement and not the flimsy matters like pigmentation.
Good character is the bedrock of any great destiny. You can make that switch. Yes you can change your character for the better.