Our Moral Compass: Character Over Reputation

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

-John Wooden

Legendary College Basketball coach John Wooden was a man who not only taught many people the skills needed to be a successful basketball player but also the skills needed to be a successful person in life. I think the latter is definitely the most important and relevant for today’s message. We often talk about our moral compass focusing on what we value and hold true as well as those attributes that are near and dear to our heart. John Wooden’s quote for today is one that I hope resonates with you as much as it did for me. When things are all said and done our concern should first and foremost should be focused on our character and not our reputation.

Often times some of us have the tendency to focus on our reputation because that is what we think people will judge us on. Remember that reputation is based on the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something. The words to focus on in this definition are beliefs and opinions. Beliefs are those things in which we believe to be true while opinions are judgements of our own that don’t necessarily rely on facts. I like to think of reputation is more or less based on word of mouth more than anything else. Now character is a different story.

Character is comprised of the group of qualities that make a person, group, or thing different from others. For example the typical six pillars of character:

Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship

These qualities are ones that are typically admired by all and what exemplifies one’s moral compass. It is through that person’s own actions each and everyday that portrays who they really are. Reputations have a tendency to fade where the character of someone will last forever in the hearts and memories of all the lives they may have touched. The question is do you want to be remember for who you truly are or what others think you are?

What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards defining/refining your own moral compass?

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