To be a Great person, positive personality traits, though essential for success, constitute secondary greatness. The key is to focus on character, not personality, if the key focus is on personality, it is like trying to grow leaves without the roots.
Private victory precedes public victory, self-mastery and self-discipline are the roots of good relationships with others. Having the “right” rhetoric, style and intention, we won’t achieve primary greatness or lasting success without trust. We may succeed by cramming things in our system but we would not advance further with our short cuts due to the natural system in place. The price must be paid, no short cuts, we reap what we sow.
You maybe beaming with secondary greatness – social status, position, fame, wealth or talent but lack primary greatness or goodness character. On the other hand, you may have character strength but lack key communication skills to achieve secondary greatness.
How we see ourselves affects our attitudes and behaviours, and also our views of other people. Until how we see ourselves and how we see others, we will unable to understand how others see and feel about themselves and their world. The basic source of a person’s definition of themselves is the social mirror, the person may confuse the mirror reflection with their true self. If there is no change in this self-image from the social mirror, it will severely handicap them for life. To affirm a person’s worth or potential, look at the person with eye of faith and treat them in terms of their potential and not their behaviour. The place to begin building any relationship is inside ourselves, inside our circle of influence, our own character.
Many organisatons face problems, both acute and chronic pain for those involved in it, usually originating from poor relationship at the top of the hierarchy. To solve the two pains and problems, it would take more than just nobility of character to confront and resolve the issues than it does to work diligently for the many people and projects “out there”.
The following THREE Character Traits are essential to Primary Greatness
- Integrity – The value we place on ourselves.
- Maturity – Balance between courage and consideration.
- Abundance Mentality – There is plenty out there for everybody.
To achieve lasting happiness and success, it needs to come from the inside-out, we must control our own live and subordinate short-term desires to higher purposes and principles, continuing the process of an upward growth, leading to higher levels of independence and interdependence.
The deep, fundamental problems we faced on the the surface cannot be solved on the superficial level, to solve them, a principle-centred, character-based inside-out approach is the key. Inside-out is starting first with own self, the most inside part of self, a continuing process of renewal, moving upwards towards higher levels.
The inside-out needs an important key to succeed, to obey and educate the conscience, it requires discipline, honest living, reading, inspiring literature and thinking noble thoughts. People with primary greatness have a sense of stewardship about everything in life, returning kindness for offense, patience for impatience, bringing out the best around them, blessing those who cursed them, to forgive and forget, move on in life, believing in the potential goodness of people and triumph of truth. By giving grace to people, we receive more grace ourselves.
In an organisation, it is an ecosystem, with different levels of people working with one another. They faced problems of different types and sizes, if we approach a problem using other than principle-centred leadership on all four levels, it would not solve the problems totally. Using the inside-out approach and work on character and competence firstly, then building trust, followed by empowerment to solve the problems faced with appropriate structures and systems.
The important root of everything is the people, the programmers that designed the structures and systems. By working on the programmers character and competence, would structural and systematic problems be solved.
(Adapted from Chapter 4 – Primary Greatness, from “Principle-Centred Leadership” by Stephen R. Covey)