Global Resilience Solutions > 2009 > August

Self-Image, Principles and Character: Forgotten Keys to Excellence


More than any other factor, how you see yourself will determine your success in every area of your life. Without a solid self-image and the self-respect that comes with it, several consequences will always ensue:

• It will be difficult to increase your income, whether in a job or a business
• You will make consistently poor life decisions, especially related to income and relationships
• You will find yourself mired in habits of thought and action that will take you in a downward spiral

If you’re like most people in the Western world today, your self-image has taken quite a beating over time. Just a couple of weeks ago I was coaching a forty year old engineer who’s dissatisfied with what he’s achieved in life. Not surprisingly, he related to me that his father frequently put him down, saying he wouldn’t amount to anything. As a result, the engineer thoroughly internalized this message and it has held him back for decades, despite his many and great talents.

In your formative years, those first two decades of life, your self-image is extremely vulnerable to all the input around you – from your parents, siblings, teachers and peers, many of whom may have attempted to cover up their own inadequacies by tearing you down.

These dents in your self-image impact your character, which is how you actualize yourself in the external world. And character is everything. As Theodore Roosevelt put it, “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of individuals and nations alike.”

The wonderful news about human life is that you can rebuild your self-image! You can determine from this moment on to become an excellent person, someone of impeccable character, openness, honesty and integrity. You can choose to see yourself not only as a success, but as a leader, an inspiration and a beacon. And as you see yourself, so shall you become.

To accomplish this, the most important step is to commit yourself to living by proven principles. Devoting your life to higher principles is not only the key to success; it’s also the key to happiness itself. In the words of the great educator, Horace Mann:

“In vain do they talk of happiness who never subdue an impulse in obedience to a principle. He who never sacrificed a present for a future good, or a personal to a general one, can speak of happiness only as the blind speak of color.”

The vital caveat here is this: you must commit to these principles NOT for the massive success they will bring you, but solely because it’s the right thing to do. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

The Great Principles of Life and Success:

So what are the key principles that high-performing individuals commit to? People committed to personal and professional excellence:

1. Accept full and complete responsibility for everything that happens in their life, for all that they have and are. Consequently, they refuse to blame anyone else, whether their parents, spouse, God, karma, the government or any other external factor.

2. Forgive completely everyone who has ever wronged them and work as hard as necessary to expunge any bitterness they feel toward these people.

3. Treat everyone with equal courtesy and respect, regardless of their social status and without the least regard for personal gain.

4. Commit to excellence, to accomplishing their goals and living each day of their lives in an excellent fashion, and to becoming the very best they can possibly be in their chosen profession. In all humility, they dare to see themselves as the best and they strive to attain that.

5. Commit to living by the highest and noblest values: love, faith, honesty, integrity and forthrightness.

6. Dedicate their energies to serving others, to transcending their own small lives in pursuit of a greater good.

Success depends not only on leadership but, prior to that, on “self-leadership” – your ability to be the leader of your own life. And all leadership depends on a noble and inspiring vision. Needless to say, without committing yourself to timeless and proven principles that take you beyond the narrow prison of your short-term self-interest, there is ZERO possibility of an inspiring vision.

So the essential first step in reclaiming your life is to RETRAIN your habits of thought to cleanse your self-image of the damage you’ve accumulated over the years. You do this primarily by making an irrevocable decision right now to become an excellent person and to walk, talk and think like such a person until it becomes ingrained in every fiber of your being.

If you commit yourself to living by these ennobling principles, I can absolutely guarantee that both your life and your personal satisfaction will reach new heights. This will utterly transform your self-image, multiply your self-respect and attract higher quality people to you. Though not always easy (what is?), this new direction will turn you into a natural leader, an inspiration to those around you and an inevitable success in whatever you choose to pursue in life.

On September 10, I’ll be unveiling an entirely new program that teaches you the simple steps for implementing this critical information in your own life immediately with 100% effectiveness. So stand by…

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


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