What You Do and Who You Are

CARTER HALL — “What do you do?”

This seems to be the most commonly asked question you hear when meeting someone new. This could refer to job, career, major in school, etc. It seems to be an important question, because what you do gives a good picture of who you are.

Recently I went down this thought train on my own, and decided I wanted to be able to have a great answer for this question. I felt like this would give me some kind of fulfillment. There is no debate that this question is given a lot of importance by people, including myself. I’ve been stressing this since I was a sophomore in high school.

One key fact led me to the conclusion that maybe I shouldn’t be so obsessed with what career I end up in, and what all I can fill my resume with.

The fact is, you can be a stellar athlete, a billionaire businessman or a famous celebrity and still be a total loser. No matter what your accomplishments and accolades are, at some point these all fade away, and all you will have left is who you really are. The question to ask is what will you be when you strip all that away?

Everyone should strive to be the best they can be. But the best someone can be includes a lot more than scholarships and awards, or even how much they can bench press. Don’t neglect the heart. Don’t forget to give attention to your character; the person that you really are.

What people consider to be virtuous can vary from individual to individual, but there are many that are widely accepted as positive attributes. Character traits like loyalty, compassion, courage, moderation, decency, integrity, and honesty are virtues that should be valued much more than any career or position. These all tell a great deal more about you than your resume ever will.

Character is the summation of the virtues that one possesses. When someone has good character, you know they possess virtues that make them someone that can be trusted, respected, and liked.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

He knew that simply filling your head with facts and information was just part of a true education. We must be sure we are not developing ourselves with only facts and knowledge, but with character and virtue also. Otherwise we won’t achieve what MLK Jr. described as “true education”.

Your character can lead to amazing accomplishments, but accomplishments alone can never produce character.

“Who are you?”

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