I played hockey from about the time I could walk up until… well I’d play now if I could find the time and a sheet of ice. I played with a friend from Peewees right through high school. He was quite the character, whenever he would score a goal, even at 12 years old, he would yell bingo. So we called him Bingo.
We still call him Bingo today. Being a “character” tends to stay with you. So does actually having character. But only having character truly defines you.
Lots of people, I’d say most people, are far more concerned with their reputation than they are their character. That’s a mistake.
Have you ever heard it said of someone “their reputation precedes them?” That’s often considered a compliment. Then when you meet them you’re surprised that they are not at all what you expected. It turned out their reputation was more mirage than fact. It’s not that their reputation was wrong, it was simply a representation of “what” people think they do, not “who” they are.
Remember this, your reputation may precede you but your character is always attached to you.
Your reputation can be more valuable than money, there’s no question about that. I suppose that’s why people focus so much on their reputation. What they don’t realize is that their reputation is built upon the foundation of their character.
The words they speak and the actions they take come straight out of their character. Reputation is who people think you are, character is who you really are. You may be able to hide behind a good reputation for a while but your true character will eventually show itself.
People of good character have no need to hide any part of their life. They take care of their character and their reputation takes care of itself. Your character is reflective of the core values you hold.
Character is within you. It is even more important than other factors like race, religion, age, and personality in determining how you react during life’s tougher circumstances. Your experiences in life may influence the character traits you have—but it is your character itself that determines how you act.
People can “know” your reputation without really knowing you. Character traits like integrity, courage, honesty, loyalty, and perseverance can only be seen by those who truly want to know you.
Even people of good character can have a less than stellar reputation because other people’s opinions of you and their biases for you and against you can shape your reputation. That’s how reputations become a mirage, they are often made of opinions. Character is based upon actions.
So which are you more concerned with…your reputation or your character? Focus on the long term by focusing on your character. Your character will eventually build a solid reputation made from facts, not opinions.