Is It Possible for Our Character to Regress? Three Steps to Avoid a Slippery Slope
Do you ever wonder why you used to be better in a certain area of your life, but now you are headed in the wrong direction? Is it possible for our character to regress? For example, can you be loving and forgiving for many years, but then lose those qualities? Can you have a daily reading habit for years, then let it slip indefinitely? Can you be empathetic toward others for decades, then stop feeling for them?
The answers to these questions are imperative for us as leaders because if it is true we can regress, then we must not only be intentional to grow our character, but we must also be vigilant that we don’t slip backward.
Absolutely, we can allow ourselves to regress. When left unchecked, our character goes through a natural state of decay. When we allow ourselves to coast, we coast downhill. If we don’t have an intentional renewal of our spirit, our character will slide. If we do not develop our character on purpose, we are susceptible to tumble down a slippery slope.
So, how can we guard against this?
First: Record what you have learned.
Solomon says, “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart,” Proverbs 3:3 NKJV. I love this scripture, and here is how I apply it in my life.
As you know, I love to study and practice healthy leadership. It is always on my mind. Still, at times I feel as if I am losing focus. So in order to guard against this natural erosion of who I have become, I write down as clearly as I can the principles that have helped me progress as a person.
For example, here is one group of principles I have written on leadership, four tenets I never want to forget. These thoughts shine a bright light on my path, so I have done my best to put them into words so I can renew my mind to them. They are:
- Become a person others want to follow.
- See those you lead as your children.
- Passionately pursue your vision.
- Constantly build your organization.
Second: Review impactful principles often.
Believe me, when I don’t routinely read and reflect on core principles like the four I mentioned above, I tend to forget them. So what is the remedy? One of the most effective learning techniques is repetition. If there is something you want to impress upon your heart and live out in your life, you must revisit it often. I review important principles daily until they are so incorporated into my life they’ve become second nature. And then I still go back and review them every once in a while so I don’t lose focus on them. Reading, and then reflecting, on what you have learned serves not only to move you forward, but more importantly to prevent you from going backward. I highly recommend this practice if you want to see lasting change in your life and leadership.
Third: Share meaningful truths with others.
Be intentional to share what you have learned and what you are learning. Teaching helps the student, but it helps the teacher even more. Sharing prompts you to put your life lessons into words and phrases. It forces you to purify and refine these thoughts because you cannot fake it when you tell others about them. It has to make sense. I love people who are always sharing what they are learning, and I love just being around them. They are alway uplifting everyone around them, and even encouraging themselves. They are working hard not to slide backward in life.
Don’t allow your character to regress. Record the principles that have changed your life; review them often; and share them with the world.
For Further Reading: