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Charisma Versus Character
“Charisma will take you to a level or height but character will keep you there or bring you down. These were the words of advice my mentor gave me in one of our conversations. I have pondered on these words in my heart since. In this article, I will try to relate what my mentor taught me to every reader in the best way I can.

Firstly I want to define charisma. Charisma is the great charm or personal power that can attract, influence and inspire people. We find great charisma among people like comedians, politicians and inspirational speakers. These people influence those that they communicate with and that is why sometimes people want to imitate these highly charismatic men.

Charisma can sometimes be a gift, potential, talent or ability and sometimes results from hard work. Charisma has lifted a lot of men to the top, charisma makes way for men where there seems to be no way, but the issue is not just getting to the top, the issue is how
Charisma and character must play along each other to achieve enormous success in life. It is necessary for everybody who wants greatness in life to fully develop both charisma and character in his life. Everyone should examine himself to see which area he is lacking and move to see that the deficit is fully restored. A man’s gift is soon aborted if he does not organize his character to synchronize with the impact of his charisma. If you just go on in the strength and power of your potential or ability and you don’t take time to develop your inner qualities, before long you will be flushed off the scene. For example, charisma can provide money for you but it takes strength of character to manage the money wisely. So character should not be separated from charisma in order to achieve a healthy and successful life on earth.

Most people tend to emphasize one side more than the other. They are either more charismatic or more character-oriented. Whichever side one is on, he tends to be biased towards that side and lean away from the other side. Both sides are fully necessary without exception. It is the healthy state of any man to find himself pulled in both directions. This is not double-mindedness but rather the paradox of greatness on this earth. When one aspect is not fully developed, it’s just like throwing the baby out with the bath water. My reason for writing this article is to emphasize the importance of character because a lot of people are charismatic. This is not to say that I have a strong character. I just want to strike a balance between the two. It is truly the dream of several people to have a great and enviable future. But what is the way to this desirable future?

You cannot separate the future of a tree from its nature. The nature of a tree is what determines the fruit it bears in the future. An orange tree cannot produce mango fruits; neither can a guava tree produce durians. And you will also agree that the fruit of a tree is what determines its future because inside the fruit is the seed and inside the seed is the tree again. The tree bears the fruit and the fruit bears the seed, the seed goes back top the ground and becomes the tree again. Hence wherever you have a fruit, there is a tree. Your future is therefore, largely determined by your nature.

It means the absence of good fruits will terminate any great destiny- the future is dashed because good fruits are not being produced. IT is your nature that determines your future. Your habit defines your habitat and your ‘make-up determines your end-up’. Understand therefore that having a successful or great future is not a product of chance but a task that has to be consciously tackled. Mike Murdock once said that men don’t determine their destinies, they determine their character and their character defines their destiny. Let me say therefore that character is the block with which great futures are built.

You may ask, what is character? The oxford dictionary defines character as all the mental or moral qualities that make a person; it also defines it as a personal reputation.

Success, I must say is not so much a function of what to do, but what to be. There are many people who are excellent in their field of endeavor, yet every opportunity for lifting passes them by, why? They lack the character required to match the position they aspire to attain.

What to be therefore is much more important than what to do, because what you are actually determines what you do. Character is not a gift, it is a choice, and it leaves you with a personal responsibility to cultivate it. The quality of your character is the foundation of how great your future will be. Unfortunately, awareness of this fact is greatly missing in the world today. Consequently so many are struggling with doing, not realizing that the fundamental requirement for success lies in being.

An African proverb says, “Character is the commander of fortune.” This goes to show how vital what you are is as opposed to what you do, in determining your success. Character, should be considered as one of the greatest assets in the school of success. Ability alone will never take you far, character would.

Character crisis is basically at the root of every misfortune in life. Do you want to enjoy success in life? Then continuously develop a lifestyle of enviable character.

There are three modules that we should always be conscious of as we build our character for a great future. They are;

· Gifts and habits

· Nature and efforts

· Papers and character.

No matter how gifted a man is, if he lacks character, he will not have value. Think of a motor mechanic who is an expert in his trade but lack integrity. People say, “Oh, yes he knows his job, but you can’t trust him.” He therefore loses the market; the future of his career is at stake, not because he lacks expertise but because he lacks character.

That apart, nature is far superior to efforts. Thus you will need to spend more time in building the kind of nature that will secure for you the kind of future you desire, than you spend on efforts.

A chimpanzee, for instance, looks very much like a man, but his nature places clear limits on his future- no matter how hard it tries, it cannot run for election in any country. Thus, how you are determines what you become.

Thirdly, no matter the quality of the degree that you have acquired, you require character to make it. There are people who have never enjoyed any fruitful tenure of office in any organization. The season is character deficiency.

It is therefore not enough to have what the world needs you must be who they want. Have you heard such statements as “He is very intelligent but unreliable; He is very smart but lacks integrity.” And that ends the matter.

I have seen a lot of situations where placements are being decided to fill very senior positions, and you hear comments flying from everyone; “if it is that man, forget about it! He has everything but lacks character.”

Character crisis for instance, is the reason for the family crisis many good looking men and women are suffering. Listen to some women when they talk, you can quickly pick the reason why they cannot keep a home- they are “too much be married! And look at some men; they are too arrogant to keep a home. Have you heard some men say “she is beautiful but not a wife material?” Character is lacking there.

A vital aspect of character is attitude. Though it sounds passive, it is indeed dynamite. Attitude largely determines responses while response determines results.

Attitude can also described as a two fold cord that is your attitude to work and attitude to life. Your attitude to life also plays a significant role in your ultimate success. Note that life is a gift, not a grief. It is a privilege, not an imprisonment, when you see life as a privilege and a gift, you will embrace it and you will not despair. Life is about contributions not collection. It is all about responsibility and not dependency, and as someone has said, responsibility is the price for greatness. Life is about relevance not significance, it is also about service not status.

Life is about disposition, not position. It’s about sacrifice and not surplus, it is about giving and not just receiving, your attitude to life will determine what it offers you. Your attitude to work is also very important, work is not a curse, and it is a blessing.

Inheritance is not a substitute for practical input. Value is not transferable, it is earned. It is work that determines worth. This is simply why a beggar has no worth because what you have not worked for does not add to your worth. There is no prize without a price, no star without a scar, no impact without an input. It is your attitude to work that determines your attainment in the world.

In conclusion, I would like to state it clearly the charisma alone is not enough neither is character alone sufficient. There must be an equal interplay of both sides. Just like one author said “charisma without character is void, insincere and deceptive. Character without charisma is lifeless, vain and falls short of the true character.

Charisma without character is illegitimate; charisma without character is not really charisma at all but a true counterfeit of it. Character without charisma is not true character at all but a form of humanism.” True character demands charisma and true charisma produces fruits of character.


Author: Anosike Victor

Diploma holder in Mechanical Engr. from INTI College Malaysia from where he writes.

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