First, We Form Habits. Then They Form Us.
It’s been said that first, we form habits…then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they’ll eventually conquer you. As we begin another new year, for many it also brings new resolutions. I don’t know about you, but I still haven’t tackled last year’s resolutions!
It feels as though my “I shoulds” seem to roll from one year to the next, be them physical, personal, spiritual, or relational. And when it comes to relationships, if we want to lead others, we first need to be able to lead ourselves. Leadership comes from the inside–who we are, our character; not from the outside–what we do, or our position in life. But, the inside is formed from the outside.
You may be familiar with the Four Temperaments:
We are all born with one. It’s biological. It’s our nature and we can’t change it. But we can compensate for weakness, by practicing virtue! This begins with moral habits, acquired through training, from the outside. They include habits of prudence, courage, self-mastery, and justice.
We tend to think that our natural tendency toward bad habits must be compensated by imposing good habits. We practice and strengthen them intentionally from the outside, so that they will form our character on the inside.
LEADERSHIP is character. Contrary to popular belief, it comes comes not from the power of our position, reputation, or money, but from authority, organically drawn from who we are, reflected in our character.
Our TEMPERAMENT is part of our human condition. No one’s is perfect. So, we need the help of grace to overcome it. We cooperate with grace, by applying and disciplining ourselves with intentionality. That intention is key, because it’s a function of our free will that necessitates choices and decisions, to form positive habits that will overcome the weaknesses of our temperaments, and form US to the best version of ourselves.