Do you know how gold refiners remove the impurities from gold? They start by placing the gold into a crucible and heating a furnace to over 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit). Once the optimal temperature is reached, they place the crucible into the furnace and wait for the gold to melt down to liquid. During the melting process, the dross, or impurities, in the gold rise to the surface. The gold refiner takes the crucible out of the furnace and scrapes the impurities from the top of the melted gold. They then stir the liquid gold and place it back into the furnace. They repeat this process until dross no longer comes to the surface of the melted gold.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” Character is not something that just happens, but rather is built, molded, and shaped over time. There is no such thing as the perfect character. We must constantly be working at building our character and making ourselves better. Flaws are a natural occurrence in our character. However, with the right mindset, discipline, and focus, our character flaws should diminish over time. This doesn’t mean we will eventually have a perfect character, as perfection is not for this world.
Flaws do not mean failures. Every person has character flaws. The difference between character flaws and character failure lies in whether someone is willing to work to better themselves. Flaws can be restored, removed, reworked, and touched up. We all have flaws, but what we do with our flaws will determine our effectiveness as individuals and leaders.
Character flaws are the parts of us that need to be worked on. They are the parts of us that need to be scraped off the top after the heat has been added. Just like dross coming to the surface, our character flaws are shown when things in our lives heat up. These times could be considered the refining process. It is up to us to determine how long we choose to be in the refining process.
However, there are times when our character flaws are shown without any heat added at all; when we respond aggressively, act selfishly, become arrogant and prideful, the list goes on. There are many times we choose the character we have; heat and pressure is not needed. These are the times we must pay attention the most. These are the times where our character is more about who we are, or who we are becoming, and less about what we do. These flaws are the silent killer to our character. We must be careful to never make excuses for character flaws. These excuses usually sound something like, “This is just who I am.”
Our character is defined by our choices. We become what we repeatedly do. It isn’t until we take ownership of our actions that we will become better. Stephen Covey said it well when he said, “Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.” It is critical that we find ourselves in a continuous state of reflection if we are ever to better ourselves. Those small actions, attitudes, and reactions we show are a direct reflection of our character, and many times there are flaws that need to be addressed.
- Our character flaws need to be addressed. Don’t ignore the parts of you that need to change. Those parts are holding you back from becoming better and more effective in everything you do.
- Reflection is key when dealing with character flaws. Purpose within yourself to reflect daily on your actions, choices, and reactions. Discover the parts of you that need to change and put all your effort into buffing out your flaws.
- Character is tested during the pressures and heat within our lives, but we don’t always need heat and pressure to see our character flaws. When choosing aggression over understanding, selfishness over service, or being right over being humble, our character is showing, and heat wasn’t needed to show these flaws.
- Nobody is perfect, and there is no such thing as a perfect character. We all have flaws and will continually battle buffing the flaws from our character. It’s when we stop trying, stop improving, and stop doing what is right that our character flaws become cracks and chasms that can do extreme damage.
Keep pushing yourself to be better. Unless we pay attention to our character and changing the flaws that are hindering us, we might always struggle to become a positive influence on the people in our life.