There are many aspects of human character that lead to human flourishing. Personal discipline is often viewed as diligence, evidencing speech and behaviour that is strong, constant and reliable guide to action and outcomes. What we observe of another person is the indicator of character. Confidence in another person is an indicator of their diligence.
Performance character has eight elements.
1. Lifelong learner and critical thinker
2. Diligent and capable performer
3. Socially and emotionally skilled person
4. Ethical thinker
5. Respectful and responsible moral agent committed to consistent moral action
6. Self-disciplined person who pursues a healthy lifestyle
7. Contributing community member and democratic citizen
8. Spiritual person crafting a life of noble purpose
We have examined Lifelong learner along with the article, Ascension and Spirituality. We learned that spirituality invites you to notice your experience, and your experience becomes your authority and not something else someone has told you. We also learned that religious principles have to be put into practice and their validity experienced. It is not enough to know reams of books, scriptures and slokas. It is religious practice and its validity in our lives: does it take us forward to our goal, does it lead to a flourishing life of peace and inner satisfaction? These questions are the measures of spiritual progress.
Many say that spiritual progress is two steps forward, one step backwards. We often slip on the way up the mountain. Slipping can be self-indulgence, being led by the mind, the ego, the faculty within that says, “I want; I want what I want, when I want it!” Enveloped in selfishness, without inwardness, we may tell ourselves we are engaged in spiritual progress. It is all “I, Me, Mine”, without humility, without compassion for others, without respect for ourselves and all of life. Amassing personal achievements and inner accolades is not building of character, nor does it reveal a tidy mind with discipline, self-respect, self-control and delay of gratification.
This is an ugly image and we may call to mind many who might fit such a caricature. Judging others does not advance us in either of good character nor spiritual progress. Humility does not seek to compare self with others, and humility does not seek grandiose accolades for advancement. We are homo sapiens, the sapiens meaning we have inner ability and capacity to be aware of ourselves. We can be aware of our inner motivations, we may observe – from within – our actions and their outcomes. We can be aware of aspects of our character, and we may strengthen some, we may curb others that do not lead to inner peace. We may become a diligent and capable performer using our inner instruments of action: the mind, the intelligence, the Consciousness or Recollection, which is concerned with inquiry and understanding, and we may use our discrimination and detachment. These lead to self awareness, which we may apply to our actions and the outcomes of our actions.
Self awareness allows us to evaluate our efforts against inner and external standards and measures of progress. Self awareness also sets the bar for achievement and personal excellence, what is called “personal best” in this day and age. Self awareness and self-understanding allow us to – within measure and the internal bar for achievement – take pride in achievement and the advance it brings in our life. Life is expansion, energy expands outward with every achievement. Those without diligence face a life of atrophy, weakness and undisciplined minds.
In summary, a Diligent and capable performer
* Strives for excellence; gives best effort
* Demonstrates initiative and self-discipline
* Knows standards of quality and creates high quality outcomes
* Takes pride in work
* Sets personal goals and assesses progress
* Perseveres in the face of difficulty.
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