As we close 2015, I want to wish you all a wonderful 2016!! In researching for a timely topic, I found this from Michael Josephson author and founder of the Josephson Institute, known for his work in Character Education. His words gave me inspiration for the New Year, and I offer them to you for review.
- I am a work in progress. But the process can be either growth or decay. I choose growth, knowing that there will always be a gap between who I am and who I want to be, and I can do something to close that gap.
- It’s easier to talk about integrity than to live it. The true test is my willingness to do the right thing even when it costs more than I want to pay. I’ve learned that no matter how I behave, some people will be mean-spirited, dishonest, irresponsible and unkind, but if I fight fire with fire, all I’ll end up with is the ashes of my own integrity.
- Character is more important than reputation and more important than competence. As Lincoln said: character is the tree, reputation is the shadow. It takes years to build up trust and only seconds to destroy it. I have a tendency to judge myself by my best intentions and most noble acts, but, in the end, I may be judged by my last worst act.
- I can’t always control what will happen to me, but I have a lot to say about what happens in me. Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. If I can change the way I think about my life — including getting older — I can change my life. Attitudes not only change my life, they are contagious and they can change the lives of people I interact with. Attitudes, both good and bad, are contagious.
- Kindness isn’t easy and it doesn’t come naturally. It takes a conscientious effort to be kind, but that kindness changes lives. The same is true for two other really important states of mind: gratitude and forgiveness. All of these virtues require acts of will.
- Happiness is deeper and more enduring than either pleasure or fun. I’ve learned that what is fun or pleasurable is not always good for me and what is good for me is not always fun or pleasurable. I’ve also learned that I’m generally as happy as I’m willing to be. Finally, I’ve learned that the surest road to happiness is good relationships and that the best way to have good relationships is to be a good person.
As we start the New Year, may we all be challenged to improve our outlook on life and strive to enhance how we approach the challenges. From all of us in Ohio State University Extension, Happy New Year! May 2016 be filled with opportunities and blessings.