Can History Be Used to Develop Your Character?

I am a huge proponent of education, While you may already know that if you follow me on a regular basis, what you may not know is that I also love studying the history of great world movements.

One of my firm beliefs is that one of the best ways to get and stay ahead in life is by making it a priority to gain knowledge. Many people take this to mean that they should be constantly going to school, but that isn't always the case. Some of the most valuable education and knowledge are not always found in the classroom but from the histories available at your local library.

Let's take a look at one year in history,1938, and at one man to see how many lessons are to be found. In 1938, Germany's power was on the rise. Most in the British government, at the time, believed in a policy of appeasement.

One voice strongly opposed this view.

Winston Churchill, a very junior member of Parliament's lower house, was that lone voice who spoke forcefully against the rising German Third Reich and its charismatic leader, Adolf Hitler. For his sin of speaking the truth as he saw it and opposing the majority, he was removed from public office and kicked out of his political party.

Looking through the lens of history, there are at least three lessons to be drawn from this part of Churchill's life:

  1. The crowd isn't always right. That thinking for yourself may not make you popular and could even make you an outcast, but it doesn't make you wrong.

  2. When you are doing, saying, and living what you know to be right, you have to have the strength to stand by your convictions. As long as you know in your heart you are doing what is right you must heed your own counsel and ignore what others may say.

  3. Personality doesn't make a good person. Hitler had a charismatic and magnetic personality that people were drawn to, but we now know what he really was.

Winston Churchill is famous for being the one man in British politics who saw the truth behind the rhetoric of his time and stood against it. What he is best remembered for was being the one man the British people trusted to lead them through their darkest hour.

His history of personal integrity, honesty, and devotion to a cause, even when it placed him in professional and personal jeopardy. It made him a man who people could trust in his country's time of need and a legend among the leaders of his time.

My challenge for you this week:

Respond to the following character questions (Remember, these are questions you must answer for yourself):

  1. What traits will you be remembered for?

  2. Is it more important to you that you be liked or to do the right things in tough situations?

  3. Who are some leaders that you admire?

  4. Make a list of their admired traits.

  5. Compare your traits with the traits that you listed of those leaders.

Strive to develop traits that make you admired!

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