In our society today it has become increasingly difficult to build strength of character. As a culture we are too interested in being liked and not interested enough in being right. In order to amount to anything as a person or as a nation, we need to rethink what we are doing and why. Instead of blind conformity being the rule, let's foster individuality, integrity to sound principles and a commitment to personal innovation. I'm going to make a few suggestions on how you can be more unique, more creative, more energetic and more likely to succeed in whatever you do.

1. Build Your Principle Base
The quest to do things right, or what we believe to be right, is the motive force for a lot of innovative solutions. The will to champion a great cause whether it's popular or not, has the potential to make the world a better place. Using roller skates to try to position ourselves in the path of the latest fad is a losing proposition. Lead, don't just follow. This requires us to strengthen our internal guidance system.

In order to lead ourselves and others, let's build a set of values that we have confidence in. Don't just accept ideas because they are popular, find those that you truly believe in and make them the core DNA of your life. Do your homework, study things out. The single most important part of your development is the proper foundation of your character. You need to build your life on principles greater than your personal self-interest, and if your principles are correctly founded, your life will enrich the world for your having been here. People will admire you and sense that you are a solid, caring person with an important viewpoint. Even when they disagree with you here and there.

"Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking.  There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught." - J.C. Watts

2. See The Good Around You
In our cynical world we see the flaws more than we see the good. Buck the trend and look for the good in everyone. Learn all you can from the world around you. Look for values and attributes you can emulate and learn from. How can we do good if we can't even see it around us? When you're building a great life you need to be able to know it when you see it.

You might be a PHD, but I bet the janitor knows something you don't know! Truth is hiding everywhere.

If you have to say something negative about a person, add something good to compensate. Too many reputations are needlessly undermined by one-sided negative remarks. We all have issues so let's try to be fair and balanced if you say something negative about someone.

Cynicism is acidic and needs to be avoided because it poisons everything it touches. It is true that we need to see things accurately so we can logically evaluate people and things, but a little of the negative goes a long way. The dark side may exist, but we don't want want to live there. We're out to build, not destroy.

"Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world." - George Bernard Shaw

3. Don't Lose The High Ground
The concern of today to be SEEN as right and popular, whether we are or not. Deception undermines all the good we might be able to accomplish. Do all you can to be right. If you're right (and you need to be contantly concerned about this point) then you move forward no matter what. If we see we are legitimately wrong, then we yield. Stick with the truth, lies are nothing to build on.

Fight the normal tendency to try to be popular with those who oppose us. Instead, we need to fall back on solid principles and be free to disagree without being disagreeable. Mind to mind combat just makes things worse. Good communication requires a degree of openness that disappears under the pressure of confrontation. If you can't agree, try to make a friend.

Stay positive. It may not fix everything, but it will make life easier and help you bounce back stronger.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." - Thomas Jefferson

4. Make Choices
Now that we have the basics covered we're ready to get to the creative part of our lives. Make decisions. Seek to make the world a better place wherever your decisions take you. Choose to be productive, don't waste your life. Dig in to what interests you. Create, enjoy, build, expand, help and live life to the fullest. Go after something you believe in whether anyone else is impressed or not.

Some people waste their lives trying to 'keep their options open'. Close doors and open others, experiment with good things until you find your greater purpose. It takes practice to choose, and you might make mistakes, but that's how you learn. What baby doesn't fall on it's keester learning to walk? Just get up and make a better choice. Keep growing.

"Be always sure you're right, then go ahead." - Davy Crockett

5. Make a Plan, and Do It!
We plan every day. Where are we going, what needs to be done, who was I supposed to call? It's a normal part of life anyway, so just extend your planning further into the future. Figure out what you want and what you need to do to get you there. Plan accordingly. Simple isn't it.

Don't you wish that knowing the right answer was enough? But it's not enough to know what needs to be done, we need the courage and tenacity to stick with our course until we get where we want to be. If you are doing what you love it's not that hard, but if your doing what doesn't fit you then it's hard. So make plans custom designed for you and no one else.

"If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." - Yogi Berra

So there you go, now you're all set. Be what you were meant to be. Unique, happy, busy, and positive. Your life will be better for having the courage to look forward and creatively build a life worth living.

Go For It!

Live Your Dream: Planning for Success
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