Character (Part 2):

Superhero, Villain, or Somewhere in between?

So, last month I initiated the blog on Character: Superhero, Villain, or Somewhere in between? In brief recap, I defined what it is, along with some of the scholarly background of Wertheimer, Köhler and Koffka’s Gestalt Theory (1935), which defines our lives as being the very sum of our parts, followed by Lewin, Wertheimer, Köhler and Koffka’s Dynamic Theory of Personality (1935), which expounded on the original work. From there, I addressed why it was important to understand this, which was supported by a host of early childhood development theorist (Gottesman, 1999). Furthermore, I addressed the social learning aspect in the formation of our character, with focus on The Bobo the Clown studies (Bandura, 1961) and then defined the four-step continuum of character development (Thought, Action, Habit, Character), which is supported by the works of William James (1887) as he laid the groundwork on habit formation and developed a theory for it (Maguire, 2017). I also showed where the works of others such as Popova (2016) and Clear (2018) have documented identified time periods to be considered as an automatic, engrained, or concrete change.

Next, I showed how, though often times science attempts to run away from God, this is actually complimented and reinforced by His Word (Proverbs 23:7a; Romans 12:2 and 5-6; and Matthew 7:16). I then wrapped up the direction of the blog by identifying who this primarily applies to, YOU, and in closing the blog, I identified that the Key Attributes of an honorable character are really encompassed Luke 6:31, which many refer to as The Golden Rule. Those attributes include kindness, compassion, respect, generosity, punctuality, and integrity; all of which are identified as positive social traits.

For this month’s blog (Part 2), we’ll be focused on how the GROUNDED acronym is applicable. To show how if one breaks down the acronym and really looks at how it can be applied to their life, things and the direction of their life can change. Now be forewarned that those who are apart from God, will be dismissive in this and say things like that’s just a dream, hopeful desire, or wishful thinking. I on the other hand, speaking from the position of the one who applies it daily, knows it to be very real and depending upon the individual’s level of effort it can be for others as well. 

So, as I have shared in previous blogs, there is what I call the GROUNDED approach. For those who may be new to these blogs, the GROUNDED acronym is a God-given tool, a mnemonic, that was given to me to help youth (or anyone else for that matter) over two decades ago. Here’s how it breaks down.

GGod

RRespect

OObservant

UUnderstanding

NNew Experiences

DDiligence

EEducation

DDaily Effort

God – In a nutshell, we must make God our true God and we need to understand His true character, so we can understand who we are as His creation and what He has made available to us through His Son, Jesus (Yeshua). However, you will never know and be able to understand the depth of this matter unless you choose to accept Jesus. Once you’ve done that, you have to take it further and choose to pursue after the things of God, through actually working to establish a PERSONAL relationship with Him; prayer, worship (praise), fellowship (read the Word), and be with those who are like minded.

Second, we must look at the matter of Respect; primarily, in that do we, first of all, respect Him, followed by ourselves, and others. If we take the time to really look at the matter of respect, we’ll find that the lack of respect is by far the biggest catalyst for the societal ills we see today. Respect simply put, equates to relationships; how do we choose to interface with those in our lives, whether they are a major, daily, element of our life or be it the person we have a 30-second encounter with. Respect is an essential aspect of our character.

Next is being Observant, or in other words to REALLY look at the situation; a means of getting the full picture. Again, not as the world does; limiting themselves to only what is obvious in the physical. Being observant definitely takes effort, but it’s not impossible. Rather it means that we must be present and an active member of the world in which we live. As I have shared many times over, the next element, that of Understanding, ties directly to and relates strongly to being observant. This is where one would take the full picture of a matter and begin to do some analysis. Those that do this are far better equipped to face the challenges they encounter. This empowers them to be proactive as opposed to being reactive in their responses. Many times, it is a single response to a situation that will set a new course for a person’s life, be it good or bad. 

Next is New Experiences. This is where one must choose to take an active role in order to break the mold of habitual response. Ideally, what we should seek to attain is a new approach. This can often be one of the more challenging elements to apply in one’s life as it requires deliberate thoughts and actions to change long-standing habits. Yet, remember that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.

Next, we must be Diligent in what we do. Some synonyms for diligence are persistence, meticulousness, industrious, and stick-to-itiveness. It is a passion and drive that is directed to a specific thing. That means that we must incorporate specificity into our lives and not be willing to simply go with the flow. Sometimes, we must be like that salmon though it may prefer to swim with the current, realizes that it must swim upstream for an enhanced and more fulfilling life.

Next, is the aspect of Education. Remember, this goes far beyond what you learn sitting at a desk in school; it is life’s lessons. But for the believer, it is more; in that it is what is learned from God through His written Word, the examples given to us by His Son, Jesus, and His Teacher and Counselor, The Holy Spirit.

And to wrap it all up, we have Daily Effort. Though this is very much like the element of diligence, it is more so related to being life, rather than task focused. At first, diligence can seem to be a monumental and daunting task. Yet, if you begin doing it as opposed to complaining about how much effort it takes or how big the task set before you is, you’ll find it is quite easy to apply. Does this mean it will always be easy? Absolutely not. But I assure you that on those tougher days if applied, your rewards will be sweet victories compared to what the consequence would have been, which you would have had to deal with. 

Well, I’m going to conclude here with this… If you aren’t who you want to be, or where you desire to be in life, only you can change it. You must be the one to desire the change, and you must be the one to put forth the effort. Lastly, the change you desire MUST BE FOR YOURSELF. Saying that you’re making a change for someone else or worse yet because someone else said that you must do it, will get you as far as you trying to through a 50,000-pound boulder. In the play Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, “to thine own self be true” and to that I say, no truer words could be said. 

One other note, if you like and find these blogs beneficial and encouraging, you might want to check out The Young Person’s Survival Manual: How to Survive in Today’s Ever-Changing World, which can be purchased here and 100% of the proceeds go back into the support this outreach ministry. If you prefer it in an e-book format it is also available on Nook and Kindle. The e-book version can also be delivered in an audio format.

Thank you and may you be richly blessed, in the name of Jesus.

References and Resources:

Bandura, A (1961). Bobo Doll study. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/bobo-doll.html

Clear, J. (2018) How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science). Article. Retrieved from https://jamesclear.com/new-habit

Gestalt Psychology, Encyclopedia Britannica, retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/ science/Gestalt-psychology

Gottesman, S. (1999). Theories of Early Childhood: Maria Montessori, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, and Lev Vygotsky. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/tourosgottesman/ theories-of-early-childhood

Lewin – Gestalt Theory (n.d.). Psychology Encyclopedia. Article. Famous Psychologists & Scientists retrieved from https://psychology.jrank.org/pages/381/Kurt-Lewin.html

Lewin, K. (1935). The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: November 1936 – Volume 84 – Issue 5 – pp 612-61.

Maguire, L.G. (2017). Psychology Of Habit: 3 Maxims Of Habit Formation From William James. Retrieved from https://larrygmaguire.com/psychology-of-habit-william-james/

Popova, M. (2016). How Long It Takes to Form a New Habit. Brain Pickings. Retrieved from https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/02/how-long-it-takes-to-form-a-new-habit/