The Importance of Character -- October 6, 2000
By Coach Jim Lutz
Thought for the weekend: If you take care of your character, your reputation will take care of itself.
October 6. I had a discussion yesterday during our dry land circuit with a few of the swimmers. We were talking about people cheating at practice and how they try to get away with things when no one is watching. I told them the old adage of "a person's real character is revealed in the decisions he makes when no one is watching."
A number of years ago a collegiate men's swim team made T-shirts that said, "cheat on your girlfriend, not on your practice." Needless to say the members of the women's team were less than happy, so they returned the favor with their own shirt saying, "Cheat on your boyfriend, not on your practice." I told them: don't cheat and everyone will be happier.
A story I relayed to them was when my brother Billy and I went golfing. It was a par three hole and the green, although it was a lower elevation than the tee box, was elevated and the area surrounding the green was a steep incline. I hit my shot short of the green and it rolled back down the hill. While the other, "real golfers" hit on the green or just behind, I repelled down to my ball and set up my shot.
Sitting on a clump of grass I took a full swing with my sand wedge and cleanly swung under the ball without touching or moving the ball. I gathered my emotions and put my next shot about four feet from the hole. I putted in and Billy said, "Nice recovery for par." I told him I had a four. With a confused look he asked how could that be. I explained that I took a full
swing and missed but I still had to count the stroke.
I'm not trying to sound like the conscience for the golfing world but I just want to prove a point. No one else would have known anything different but I had to live with the decision I made. Just as you live with each decision you make.
You might be able to cover up the truth for a period of time then eventually the truth will be exposed and so will you. Don't ever sell yourself short. The qualities and talents that you possess can overcome most obstacles that life may throw your way. How do you want to be remembered? All talk and no walk is not a very pleasant concept, nor is a good cover with no substance. Admitting your faults and weaknesses may cause for slight embarrassment temporarily, but a
blatant incompetence will stay with forever. A stable disposition will lend itself to place others at ease and will give you credibility. Avoid re-acting instead of pro-acting so others will understand your position in most situations.
Your character is the one lasting thing in your life that you can control and never lose unless you choose to make changes. Good or bad, you will choose how your character will be perceived, controlled and maintained.
And that is one job you can do very well.
Have a great weekend...I know I will