For our discussion we will define talent as your skills, your expertise, your technocracy, your athletic abilities, your competitive advantage or anything that sets you apart. If you want to pull the crowd, set yourself ablaze; Ed Louis Cole loved to say.
A former business executive who sat on many boards, an author and philosopher who wrote mind stimulating books like, the Potential Principle, Maximized Manhood, Communication, Sex and Money, and a mentor to me, the late Ed Louis Cole (MHSRIP) coined the above paraphrased subject line, quoted below verbatim.
“talent will take you to the top, but only character will keep you there …”
Now that we have defined talent, we need to define character. What is character, one would dare ask? I would like to call it the bedrock of your personality, that which defines who you really are.
I would like to believe it is that individual you really see when you look into the mirror; it is what you are when no one is looking and you are all by yourself, it is embedded in your genetic fiber, it is that private philosophy that determines your public performance, so to say.
I have been reading George Tenet’s book, “At the Center of the Storm, my years at the CIA” and one thing that keeps regurgitating itself in this book is how the world’s former chief spy’s Greek heritage seemed to shape his character. Character takes time to build, character can be developed.
As the longest serving CIA Director up to his time, sparing through both Republican and Democratic presidencies, each Commander in Chief, seemed to trust his judgment because his character set him apart. He writes of a scenario when things had gone bad at the CIA and he knew, he would be fired but there came a phone call from President Clinton telling him, he trusted his judgment.
Tenet explains how he felt after that call from the President. He told himself that every Jim and Jack was inconsequential, the only person that mattered in the entire world just called to let him know he was in his corner.
He describes another scenario during the run up the Iraq invasion, how President Bush called him to thank him after a serious confusion in one of the cabinet meetings that Tenet brought some level-headedness to.
It was not just his skills (George Tenet’s) that set him apart, his character did as well. He was reliable, consistent, dependable and trustworthy. He could be counted on and he was the go-to-guy when things got tough. Character, character, character …
Character uses logic, reason and defies emotion. There can never be great leadership without character; there can never be great breakthroughs without character. Character sees beyond short term fallacies that come at the expense of long term benefits.
We are not worried about talent, because everyone sees it; we are worried about character because only you know yourself best. Character is latent, it is invisible while its attributes are not – they are seen by everyone around you except yourself at times; character always comes up despite how disguised one may want it to be.
Here at the Zambian Chronicle, character is important to us … we know first hand why and how we have become the “Gold Standard” for any interactive site and blog for Zambians around the world and we would encourage you to take stock of yourself as well.
Character is the real you, so do you have a character problem? The good news is, you can change, you can shape it and you can rebuild the real you into someone the world would benefit from. Besides, you owe it to yourself because while talent will take you to the top, only character can keep you there …
History is full of stories of great athlets, movie actors, presidents and world leaders whose skills, expertise, technocracy, athletic abilities, competitive advantage or anything that set them apart took them to top, but their character brought them down.
Do a personal audit today, check out your character and its flaws, we all can improve …
Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.
Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.
CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle
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