Dave-Oakes-Seminars-blog (1)Three men who believed they could judge character by facial appearance were gathered in a plastic surgeons office: a playwright, a lawyer and a doctor. They were looking at masks of patients before surgery. The playwright said, “This person with a receding chin is a weakling.” “Wrong,” the plastic surgeon answered, “He’s an aggressive stockbroker.” The lawyer said, “This man with the ugly gash on his cheek must be a gangster. It’s a typical squealer’s cut.” “No”, the surgeon said. “He’s a sedate businessman that was in a car wreck.” The last man examined the mask with the broken nose and said, “This fellow looks as if he’s been in a number of fights. Is he a pugilist or racketeer?” “No,” the plastic surgeon answered, “He’s a school teacher who fell on his nose when he was a child.” He then showed the three men the casts of these patients after surgery. They were astounded. They couldn’t believe these normal faces had once been horribly distorted. To this day, many people persist in believing that the face is an index to character. Character is below the surface; it’s in the heart. CHARACTER, MY FRIENDS, IS WHAT YOU ARE IN THE DARK. True character has roots that go back to childhood.
It’s the tough times in a person’s life that spawn greatness…or character.

Hard times and harsh times developed strong men and women, women who think straight and stand tall, men who refuse to bend and bow…willing to swim up-stream rather than float down with the tide and current of the waters.

Hard times are not over and harsh times have not passed away. We find ourselves in the midst of these this very moment. You might be working to overcome a rough childhood by your accomplishments in the professional world, or maybe you are fighting a nagging illness. Maybe you are struggling with finances, you have marriage problems, an alcoholic relative or your parents are becoming dependent; the list can go on and on. We all have our own battles.

Some of you may say, “Well, times ARE hard, times ARE tough, in fact, I’m suffering a lot.” Well, have your pity party and GET OVER IT. Welcome to the club. That’s what it is all about.

The German poet Johan Gutta wrote – “A talent is formed in stillness; character is formed in the world’s torrent. It’s character that we are all about; strength of character.”

Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher wrote “Not education, but character is man’s greatest need and man’s greatest safeguard.”

My favorite author Chuck Swindoll says that “Character is the moral, ethical and spiritual undergerding that rests on truth, that reinforces a life in stressful times and resists all temptation to compromise.”

My message to you is don’t take it easy. Who knows why you were brought onto this earth …for this very era for your friends and relatives. Pour into them what you have learned in the hardships and heartaches of your own life. Show them some of your character. Don’t take it easy.
A physician once told me a story of something he learned the hard way. He was treating a lady who was in her 80’s and she was in great condition! He asked, “What in the world do you do to stay in such great condition?” She replied, “Run.” The doctor then asked, “You run? Well, how far do you run?” “4-5 miles,” she replied. “Every month?” the doctor inquired. “No, every day” she said. The doctor said “OOHH! Take it easy…” and in 3 months she was dead. Now for whatever reason you may give to the cause of death, the doctor said he would never again tell somebody to take it easy.

I don’t know about you folks, but I am going to take those words out of my vocabulary.

Some of us are so involved with making a living we have forgotten about working to make a life. So busy worrying about a financial portfolio we forget about character. That’s what it is all about. That is what will impact the people in our daily lives. It’s who we REALLY are, in our hearts.

Our young people are looking for those who are determined, still teachable, and flexible, yet firm in convictions; those who can handle the obstacles, whatever may be thrown at them. I once read that “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off of the goals.”

Some of you have become obstacle conscious. All you hear is the bad news. Your focus is on what isn’t working. You know what won’t work. You are known for your complaining and whining and you are hard to live with. Stop it!

Carlisle, the Scottish essayist said “The block of granite that stands as an obstacle to the weak becomes a stepping stone to the strong.” What can I offer that will encourage you to take tomorrow by the throat, to step into the challenges that we face? What can I say that will help you with change? Mark Twain once said, “Nobody likes change except a wet baby.” I think Mark Twain is right. You may not like change, but change is required to make a difference today from yesterday. Some of us are overdue.

Alexander Solzhenietzen wrote, long before he was as popular a man as today, “It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not thru states, nor between classes nor between political parties either, but thru every human heart and thru all human hearts…. so bless you prison for having been in my life………..bless you hand slap for having been in my childhood, bless you financial troubles, bless you all hard times for giving me what I needed the most but didn’t know, CHARACTER.”

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