Think of a person, or a few people, who you genuinely admire.
What do they have in common?
I generally find that people admire people who make it clear as to where they stand. They have integrity and character. They know right from wrong. They are honest, even if the prevailing wind of society is blowing against them.
Do you know where you stand on important issues? Most importantly, do you know why? If someone asked you where you stand on higher taxes, could you write a succinct couple of paragraphs on the topic in less than 15 minutes and feel comfortable that your stand would not change 5 years from today? Government regulation of health care? How about abortion? Capital punishment? Fixing health care? Education? Welfare? The right way to live? The right way to parent?
Are there many politicians that you admire? I think most people agree that the answer is “very few” — why is that? These men and women are supposedly our best and our brightest, the leaders of our great American people, our representatives no less!
The answer is of course that most politicians only stand for one thing — getting re-elected and staying in the hallways of power. Obama says one thing but then does the other. Romney flip-flops too. Gingrich has so many ideas that they contradict themselves. Both Obama and Romney act aloof and above the common problems of the common people. Against all odds, the nation is surprised that Rick Santorum is gaining traction even though he is a long shot. I’m not surprised after watching the early debates: People admire a person that knows where he stands, even if they do not agree with every facet of his positions on issues.
There is a valuable lesson found in this election and it is a personal lesson: Decide where you stand. Let people know where you stand. Not just on politics but on issues at work, at your church, at the home owners meeting, and at home. State things simply and clearly. Defend your positions but keep an open mind. Debate. Don’t be afraid to say you were wrong from time to time. You will become a person others admire but that side-effect is not what’s truly important. What is most important is forging your own character and integrity. As Teddy Rossevelt put it:
“I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do!
That is character!”
Deciding where you stand changes your approach and your confidence. Deciding and defending your position will increase your optimism and fuel your decisive forward actions. It is well worth the thought and the effort.
I.M. Optimism Man