Who Am I…

Team Trakkers received an email from Mamma Bear earlier this week about making sure we meet certain rules, one being keeping our blog updated; this post isn’t being written for that reason. This is a post that will be a first of it’s kind; kind of a looking in, and not having an answer. I WANT REPLIES!!! I WANT PEOPLE’S THOUGHT AND TAKES ON THE SUB JECT!! In the above mentioned email, the word ‘character’ was used, and it made me think… What kind of character do I have? What kind of character do I WANT to have? What exactly is character? Can character even be defined? I don’t have answers to any of these questions, but I have a couple thought on a few of them.
Dictionary.com defines character as, “the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing”, “one such feature of trait”, and, “moral or ethical quality”, among quite a few other definitions. I guess I’d kind of agree, that character is the culmination of all one’s traits, such as loyalty, integrity, et al., but that doesn’t give me an answer on what kind of character I have; I don’t think it does for anyone. I have good traits, and bad traits, as we all do, and some come out at times when others are completely absent, and vice versa. Is there some kind of equation we can plug all these traits in to get an ‘average’ on whether we have a ‘good’, or ‘bad’ character? If so; what if at that time, all our ‘negative’ traits are out in the open because of whatever we have going on in our life, or if we’re thriving at that moment; wouldn’t that lead to a skewed answer based solely on that moment and the way we are closely related to that time? How do we get an average of when we were thriving, and when we were plummeting? I don’t have any answers; I honestly don’t know…

That made me think about what character I want, and what we all want. I’m sure it’s safe to assume we all want a positive character, why wouldn’t you, but I know from my own life experience, as brief as it may be, that there’s plenty of negative character people out there. So, that made me ask another question… Can one change it’s own character, or is it something that’s just ingrained in our DNA and soul, and that’s just how we are? And; if one can change character, could it do so without losing that person to transform into another? Personally, I say no; you can’t change. You can bury whatever ‘bad’ traits you have, but they’ll show back up at some point, no matter how much you try to improve or ignore them. I say this because I don’t think people really change; maybe they put on a new mask to cover up the scars, but they’re still the same person beneath their facade, no matter how elaborate. (I know certain people will read this and think I’m talking about myself or a particular situation; I’m not. I’m just thinking on ‘paper’, and hoping to get other’s thoughts and observations to lead to a great conversation). But maybe I’m wrong; that’s just how I feel.

I don’t know what kind of character I have; I have good and bad, and I don’t know which one out weighs the other, or if they could even be weighed against each other. I don’t know what kind of character anyone has, really. I don’t completely agree with any definition of the word ‘character’ that I’ve come across, but I know it goes far deeper than saying, “They’re a good person”, or anything of the like. Think about it, just don’t give yourself a headache like I have a couple times thinking about this. Maybe if we can determine what exactly character is, then we can slowly begin to figure out what the good and bad character traits are, and which ones are in between, because what I may think of as a great trait, may be complete taboo to someone else. And then, maybe we can decide whether you, or me, or they, are of positive or negative character. And maybe, that’s what it’ll take; others looking at us, seeing what we don’t (refuse to) see, and to do that, we’d have to open up to those looking completely… I know I’m not the only one with a major issue with that, and not the only one who really REALLY doesn’t want to dig that deep into myself…but what if that’s what it took to determine what kind of character you really have…

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19 thoughts on “Who Am I…

  1. Character is the way you act when no one is looking. The things you do and think when your alone. Character is the way you treat others when you know you are not going to get the same treatment back, but you do the right thing anyway. Character is what your heart tells you is right when your brain is trying to talk you out of it. Lastly character is saying or doing something that make you feel good just because you went out of your way to be nice. A person with good character doesn’t have a guilty conscience after their actions.

    1. I like the ‘what you do when no one is around’, and ‘when you know you won’t get the same back parts’; I’d argue the brain-heart connection, or at least the way it comes across phrased that way. My mother ladies and gentlemen; one of the reason’s I (think) I have a good head on my shoulders.

    1. Not really advice, but yeah; it’s good stuff. The race was fine I guess; it was just a training run(zone2-3), so I stayed at zone3 the whole time, and went 4th AG, & 47th OA. I could have won my AG had I pushed. I’m not nearly as unfit as I thought

  2. SSS took my comment. I do this it is a good idea to reflect on how you have handled tough situations in the past. I think that charactor can change (good and bad).

    1. BTW: (SSS=Samantha Sewell Stephens aka Mom) I agree, but if you can change the way you handled a situation, and do it differently, does that mean you’ve changed that ‘trait’? And if character changes, for good or bad, do you become another person?

  3. I too really like what your mom said. I espeshally like – “Character is the way you treat others when you know you are not going to get the same treatment back, but you do the right thing anyway.”

    I think that you develop character as you grow older and experience more things. Sometimes you make good decisions, sometimes not – I really think it is our mistakes that we learn the most from and gain our character from.

    Congrats on a great race today.

    1. Thanks; I kind of wish I would have raced so I would had taken my AG. and yeah; her ideas seem to have resounded with everyone, but I’m glad you added your own thoughts too and didn’t just agree with what was said. I agree it’s really the hardships that make character, BUT, no one has touched on HOW you measure if your of good/bad/in-between character. Is there even a way?

  4. One of the things I like about doing Iron Distance Tris is over the course of 140.6 miles you tend to find out an awful lot about your self. The journey tends to strip away the layers we put on. By the end of the day, the way you interact with others, deal with adversity, and even the raw thoughts floating through your head teaches you alot about yourself. Great theraphy, an opportunity for self discovery, and you get a medal and a T-shirt to boot!

    Have fun and Enjoy the ride!

    1. While I won’t disagree that after that race, things are revealed, I think there’s more. It wasn’t for me, but that smile one may get after running down the finishing chute may seem like they’re a “good” person, it may stem more from the sense of accomplishment at that moment. It may show you’re hard-nosed, and not a quitter, but there’s more to a person. I think it’s more a time to think and get a clear head than discover anything; I always come back with more questions than answers

      1. The character discovery part of an ironman journey doesn’t happen running down to the finish line. Instead it happens when the finish line is nowhere in sight. At Cedar Point there were several instances. During the bike, one competitor a multiple time IM finisher came across a another cyclist with a mechanical issue on the side of the road, at the point of tears because the race they had trained for for amost a year was basically done. He got off his bike and took the part of his bike and put it on the other guys and sent him on his way so he could forfil his dreams, but ending his race at the same time.

        On a personal note, when you see someone on the run who is really struggling, do you stop and lend a hand, or are you so focused on your race you run right by. I had that scenerio play out twice. My two fastest IMs, I came a someone who really needed help, Without even thinking about it, I stopped and helped. One case there was plenty of help (happened right at an aid station), and the other wasn’t exactly critical, but both times I stopped and with my help both finished. At Knoxville while I lay bleeding on the side of the road after a bike wreck, not one person stopped, that tells you about character as well.

      2. I agree that more happens out on the course, and it does say a lot to completely give up a part and end your own journey to let someone else continue their trek. I still wave, and give the occasional “you can do it” comment to the runners struggling in training and racing, even though I RARELY get even a nod back. I was passed by a couple walking on the Silver Comet Trail here in GA when I wrecked my bike last year right in front of them, so bad it cracked my helmet, so I know exactly how you must have felt in Knoxville. Strangely, as I assume you felt too, I wasn’t mad at them, but instead in awe that they would just walk by after watching me crash, and then fall back down as soon as I attempted to stand up.

  5. Character… can it be changed. I think that’s an interesting concept. As you said.. you can make actions to display good character, but does that mean you truly have Good character. Hmmm. Does it really matter? If you are trying to have good character (even if you don’t FEEL it at the moment) that would suggest to me that you do have good character or you wouldn’t be bothering to try. And as w/ other things… if theses acts don’t come naturally to you…. after some practice they may start to come naturally. I do believe that people CAN change, but they REALLY have to WANT to… for themselves and no one else.

    1. Thank you for being the first person to hit on those two questions. I think the fact that you care, or would try to improve(if you can) your character means you do have at the very least, a decent one. And while I agree that you MAY be able to change, I think that it’s next to impossible, and that it’s very very rarely motivated by one’s own desire to change. In theory; sure, you could change your character, but in reality and practice…I think it’s very very rare, if it exists at all.

  6. I think your Mom is spot on!! I hear a lot of people say a lot of things for the sake of what others think of them, but true character is doing things just because you think – or know it’s the right thing to do.

    1. I think a big part of it is guilt. If you don’t have guilt, then you know you’re doing right; that guilt can really be a guide to doing what you know is right.

  7. Character can only truly be determined by the individual. Can it change? Yes, but that’s because the persons perception of the situation or how they handle something changes through experience (aka life).

    People’s perception of ones character matters for some and not for others. I believe that a majority of people have a good moral compass as that is how we are wired as humans. But each situation presents itself in different ways for each person individually. What you may do in one situation may not be the same as I, but we both have good character.

    Is not stopping for the athlete in the above scenario showing bad character? Depends on the situation and how each is perceived. If you and I have both wanted to finish an Ironman and if for some strange reason we both knew only one of us could finish, who decides who gets to finish and if one person has good character vice bad because they didn’t let the other one finish vice themself. To think of yourself over others is not always a sign of bad character.

    In short: Character is about effort. Are you trying to do your best for yourself and those around you? If so, then I believe you are showing good character.

    Those are just my random thoughts.

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