“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
John Wooden as quoted in How to Be Like Coach Wooden: Life Lessons from Basketball’s Greatest Leader (2006) pg. 5
I hate getting wisdom from athletic coaches.
As a boy, I was rather non-athletic and I lived in a rural area where most boys were “real” boys who enjoyed hunting and fishing, were rugged and strong, and enjoyed the heck out of team sports.
Since I was “none of the above”, I felt a little out of place. A little time in the Army cured me of the delusion that I could not become stronger and more rugged and a long period of running 5Ks, 10Ks, and longer races did help me see myself as somewhat athletic.
But that’s not the point of this post.
Wooden points out a great reality: You control your character, but you do not control your reputation.
Reputation is in the mind, but not yours
Your reputation is in the minds of other people. You can influence, you can manipulate, you can campaign, you can try to trick, but ultimately those other brains still function independently of you.
Good thing to keep in mind about a great many life issues.
Character is all in your head
Character is built on what you think, what you say, and what you do … all of which are in your span of control.
Character is visible to other people, at least in part, so your overt behaviors may influence how someone else regards you. Just remember you cannot control that regard, only influence it.
Character ultimately has more to do with how you view yourself and your world.
Character really is all in your head.
Trying hard to remember this one because it’s important in the Heartland ….