A Clear Warning Sign – Character Creates Opportunity®: June 21, 2018

We have all felt overwhelmed from time to time. Feeling “flooded” is a nice, polite way psychologists describe our situation when we feel we have reached a final breaking point in relationships, careers, and other endeavors.

There is no denying that our experiences in the home, school, workplace, and community continue to grow more complex and create new challenges for all of us to reach our hopes and dreams.

As our situations continue to get more challenging, the principles we rely on to keep moving forward in our journey do not change. As we guide our thoughts, decisions, and actions based on principles such as courage, perseverance, loyalty, and faith, we will more often than not, make the most effective choices to address the complex reality we are all facing. Techniques may change, but principles are timeless and universal to support our cause.

Throughout history, as the challenges seemed to grow greater, principle-based actions of individuals and movements rose to the occasion to overcome. If we all took a moment to reflect on our own story, I am confident we would find times where we faced seemingly insurmountable challenges and managed to overcome.

However, there has always be one clear warning sign that if not addressed, will turn a near term derailment into a permanent loss in the pursuit of our goals. This warning sign is a more formidable obstacle in achieving our goals than the actual challenge we face. This clear warning sign is when our thoughts, decisions, and actions are guided by the phrase, “I just don’t care anymore.”

Apathy is the real enemy in the long journey to pursue our hopes and dreams.

When we come to the point of not caring about the important issues within our families, the challenges of our chosen profession, the pursuit of education throughout our lives, or service in our communities, then the battle is over. Sun Tzu said, “Every battle is won or lost before it’s ever fought.”

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, we must continue to care about the things that matter most, even in the face of extreme difficulty and struggle.

Here a few thoughts to identify and address apathy before it gets a tight grip on us:

  • Self-Assessment: No one knows our inner thoughts, but us. It is critical that we “look in the mirror” and continue to assess the genesis of our own thoughts that drive our decisions and actions. An honest self-assessment is our best tool to identify apathy in our mindset.
  • Choices: We can only effectively give our energy to a few causes. The world is too challenging to give partial effort and expect to make a difference. We need the discipline to clearly choose whether to go “all in” or don’t go at all. In today’s vernacular, my kids would say, “Go big or go home.” We should determine what we care about most and act accordingly.
  • Long-term: There is no cause worth pursuing that will have an “overnight success.” There will always be a series ups and downs…sometimes extreme ups and downs. It is important we don’t get too elated or too down in the short run but focus on staying the course and caring throughout the long journey to reach our hopes and dreams.
  • Observation and Action: Be on the lookout for this clear warning sign in others. Apathy can metastasize like a cancer within families, the workplace, and our communities. We all need some courage to have the difficult conversation when we see apathy in others and share an encouraging word about the importance of addressing it and overcoming for the good of the family, the team, or community.

As we continue to guide our thoughts, decisions, and actions by principles such as sacrifice, commitment, and understanding, we will build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity for us to keep apathy out of our lives and away from those we care about most.

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