Whether you’re reading a magazine, scrolling your Facebook news feed, or watching the news on television, the reputation of someone is found not to match their character. Usually the news highlights a reputation that is suddenly tarnished because of undesirable actions.
“Character is like a tree and
reputation is like its shadow.
The shadow is what we think of it;
the tree is the real thing.”
~ Abraham Lincoln ~
I can think of a few people right off the top of my head that had their bright and shiny reputations dashed in seconds because their character betrayed them.
- Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, and his “I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” statement. Of course, there’s also the much talked about blue dress.
- OJ Simpson, an American football player, broadcaster, actor who was in “the trial of the century” because his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman were murdered on June 12, 1994. OJ Simpson took the infamous Bronco ride going slowly up the interstate to get away from police while the whole world watched on television.
- Tiger Woods, American golfer who seemed like the perfect role model as he won tournaments year after year. He had a beautiful wife, lovely children, flourishing career and then December 2009 Tiger publicly admitted to cheating with 120 women because he was addicted to sex. Needless to say, Tiger’s wife divorced him.
- Bill Cosby, comedy legend, has been accused of dating, administering drugs and and then sexually assaulting numerous women. That’s bad enough, but it has been during the whole course of his career and while he has been married.
- Robert Durst, a millionaire heir who is all over the news today because he has been charged with first-degree murder in the murder of Susan Berman in Los Angeles in 2000. He’s also the main suspect in his first wife’s 1982 disappearance, so I’m sure the authorities are trying to find evidence that ties to Durst also.
All of these people started out with untarnished reputations. As time passed and they made bad choices, their reputations turned sour because their true character was revealed.
Many words can be used to describe good, positive traits of your character:
That list is great and all, but if your reputation doesn’t match your character, then your reputation is worthless.
The past couple weeks I have been bombarded with news titles on the Internet of “get backs” for cheating boyfriends, girlfriends, fiances and spouses. Everything ranging from posting the text messages on Facebook to revealing the cheater to all the friends and family in big surprise events. These events are the first stories that pop up on my news feeds not only in Facebook, but email and online news reports. It is a terrible way to start my day!
All that negativity is not something I need and it also isn’t what you need either. There are enough major real life events happening everyday with terrorist and government corruption without adding more fat to the fire.
Let’s forget about those negative events and focus on developing some positive character traits.
When writing a book of fiction, the writer must develop all aspects of a character in order to make them believable. That same type of list can be applied to real life as a way to set goals, realize growth, and the patterns of choices you should avoid going forward.
Completing the list is a good way to get to know yourself. You know all the answers to the questions in your head, but actually writing them down changes your view and your brain relates with the questions, answers and self-analysis differently.
I’ve had the character list ever since I started writing my first book a long time ago. It has been tweaked from time to time to include all the facets of a character’s personality traits and history. I’m sure if you will sit down and write out the answers, you might learn a few things about yourself or find the answer to a problem you’ve been tackling. It really is very comprehensive, but well worth the time and effort you put forth to complete it. Plus, if you share your answers to the questions, it is fun to see how much you know about your significant other.
Shape Face and Body:
Vision – Glasses or Contacts:
Right or Left Handed:
Net Worth in money:
Net Worth in possessions:
Past Health Problems:
Bad Habits (biting nails, smoking, etc.):
Sleeping Habits (night owl, early bird):
Sense of Humor:
Current Best Friends:
Past Best Friends:
Childhood Best Friends:
Current Family Relationships:
Past Family Relationships:
Current Love Relationships:
Past Love Relationships:
Favorite Television Show:
Favorite Childhood Story:
Favorite Childhood Game:
Favorite Childhood Memory:
Favorite Type of Music:
Favorite Male Actor:
Favorite Female Actress:
Favorite Child Actor/Actress:
Favorite Work of Art:
Favorite Place (ocean, mountains, etc.):
Common Speech Patterns when saying Hello:
Common Speech Patterns when texting/writing Hello:
Common Gestures when saying Hello:
Common Speech Patterns when saying Goodbye:
Common Speech Patterns when texting/writing Goodbye:
Common Gestures when saying Goodbye:
Common Speech Patterns when saying Please:
Common Speech Patterns when texting/writing Please:
Common Gestures when saying Please:
Common Speech Patterns when saying Thank You:
Common Speech Patterns when texting/writing Thank You:
Common Gestures when saying Thank You:
Common Speech Patterns when saying You’re Welcome:
Common Speech Patterns when texting/writing You’re Welcome:
Common Gestures when saying You’re Welcome:
Common Speech Patterns when saying Yes:
Common Speech Patterns when texting/writing Yes:
Common Gestures when saying Yes:
Common Speech Patterns when saying No:
Common Speech Patterns when texting/writing No:
Common Gestures when saying No:
Common Speech Patterns when Angry:
Common Speech Patterns when Angry texting/writing:
Common Gestures when Angry:
Common Speech Patterns when Disappointed:
Common Speech Patterns when Disappointed texting/writing:
Common Gestures when Disappointed:
Common Speech Patterns when Hungry:
Common Speech Patterns when Hungry texting/writing:
Common Gestures when Hungry:
Common Speech Patterns when Sad:
Common Speech Patterns when Sad texting/writing:
Common Gestures when Sad:
Common Speech Patterns when Sleepy:
Common Speech Patterns when Sleepy texting/writing:
Common Gestures when Sleepy:
Common Speech Patterns when Tired:
Common Speech Patterns when Tired texting/writing:
Common Gestures when Tired:
Common Speech Patterns when Happy:
Common Speech Patterns when Happy texting/writing:
Common Gestures when Happy:
Common Speech Patterns when Excited:
Common Speech Patterns when Excited texting/writing:
Common Gestures when Excited:
Well, if you made it to the bottom of the list, you may be a little introspective. That’s great! The first step to making changes and improving yourself is to recognize what already makes up your character.
“You cannot dream yourself into a character;
you must hammer and forge yourself one.”
~ Henry David Thoreau ~
Hopefully your shadow matches your tree.