Character Building & The Law of Reciprocity | Podcasts

Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of wearable inspiration for a better world. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from The Rhythm of Life by Charles Brodie Patterson, published in 1915.

IF there is any one question of more importance than another in life, it is certainly that of character building, because character, or the lack of it, makes or unmakes the man and woman.

We have the power within ourselves to feel, to think, and to act — and it is the use or misuse of this power that makes for character or the lack of it. The ideal person is the individual who is thoroughly rounded out, who has used to the full the attributes of soul, the faculties of mind, and the physical senses — and who through their use has developed soul, and mind, and body to their fullest extent.

When we say that a person has a strong character, we mean that they are living life in a strong, true way — that they have strength of mind and purpose, and that they are able to carry both into their daily work. Such an individual commands the respect of their neighbors and co-workers. But the weak, characterless person (the one who is negative in all their thinking and doing) is neither respected nor trusted by those around them.

It is character that counts in life. The person who is independent and self-reliant, who thinks clearly, and who acts from conviction, brings a far greater influence to bear upon life than could any number of weak, negative-minded people.

If character, then, is so necessary to life, it should be a part of wisdom not only to desire it, but to work for it — because character, like everything else, has to be worked out.

None of us in life receives anything that is worth having, save through working for it. But we all know that two people may do equally hard work and one far out-strip the other — both in regards to the quantity and the quality of the work.

Now what constitutes the difference between the two? The answer is that one person is putting greater intelligence into their work, and because of this is getting larger results. A person may be strong physically without being able to accomplish much in the world; a person may be mentally and physically strong, and succeed in accomplishing much more; but the person who is mentally, physically, and SPIRITUALLY strong, will be the one who will do the really great things in life — for when you are developed in all three aspects of your nature, you are thoroughly equipped to do the things that come to you to do.

Let me explain: the spiritual is the inner emotion or feeling, it is the dynamic energy of life; mind is thought and reason, it perceives the form that things should take; and the body or physical organism is the plane of expression belonging to both mind and soul, where thoughts and feelings later take form and are expressed.

As heart and mind and body all work in harmony with each other, we are able to do our complete, our perfect work. Character, then, is developed through the use of all three, and no one can become fully rounded out unless they are functioning on all planes.

This leads us to the concept of reciprocity. Everything in life depends upon the great law of reciprocity, of giving and receiving. We give of our possessions, and through doing this enter into larger possessions. Nature exacts of us no indiscriminate giving, but a wise, orderly, benevolent giving that considers both the object and the end of the giving.

READ THE ENTIRE ESSAY IN EVEREST: 50 MOTIVATIONAL LIFE LESSONS