Living Well

March 1, 2010

The Color of your Character

Filed under: character,Personal Leadership — dlneidert @ 12:10 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It is called inherent affinity.  This term names what professional dyers use to distinguish between a pigment and a dye.  While pigments do not attach themselves to materials without chemical agents, dyes infiltrate fabrics and become permanently a part of the fibers.  This property of dyes gives it an ability to bond molecularly at the most invisible level with the surfaces it touches.

The Greek poet and architect Heraclitus (540-480 BC) wrote that “the soul is dyed the color of its thoughts.  Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the full light of day.  The content of your character is your choice.  Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become.  Your integrity is your destiny…it is the light that guides your way.”  As Heraclitus observed, we become what we think, particularly as it relates to our character and integrity.  Our very lives are dyed the color of what we think about and act upon.  If we choose to be people of integrity in our minds, our souls will inherently bond with our thoughts.  By this infiltration, we become in time what we subject ourselves to through the repeated choices we make.

Dye has another quality that Heraclitus must have noticed.  Dyers know that the human eye can detect the smallest color differences in fabric.  It is critical to apply dyes uniformly if the product is to be of the highest quality, for even the untrained eye can detect dyes that are not uniform.

Our integrity is much like this uniformity.  If we practice integrity in some areas of our lives, but not in others, even the casual observer will detect the non-uniformity of our principles.  For example, if we are to be people of integrity, we must uniformly apply the stealing of cash from our employer to the stealing of our employer’s time.  It is in reality the same, just in different forms.  By uniformly applying integrity to all areas of our lives, we will reflect the color of principles that can bear the light of personal continuing scrutiny by others.

One attribute of dye, however, demands our attention.  The attribute is that no matter how absorbent and initially strong the dye, it can fade over time.  Washing, intense light or excessive heat can over time begin fading a dyed fabric.

The lesson here is that we are not to fade over time; we must make choices day to day to focus on integrity and principles.  Thinking about integrity now and then will not keep us colorfast, but will eventually permit us to fade when the heat is on.

What dyes are you applying to your life?  What thoughts are dying your character qualities?  Are you pursuing integrity and excellence or pursuing gain by less than honorable means?  Are you applying integrity in all areas of your life, not just some?  Are you willing to be courageous and live with integrity and character all the time, even when it is unpopular or the heat is on?

We become the quality of our thoughts.  Modern neurological and brain studies tell us this.  Yet Heraclitus, just observing the world over two millennia ago knew the same thing.

Blessings to you for this day; grace and peace.

David Neidert

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