The True Test of Character | William George Jordan

Listen to episode 203 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Success & The True Test of Character. Adapted from The Power of Purpose by William George Jordan.

Podcast Excerpt: The great test of individual character is not struggle, but attainment; not failure, but success; not adversity, but prosperity. When Nature wants to put you through the third degree, she places near you the laurel wreaths of victory. She megaphones to you the world’s plaudits of success. She parades stacks of newspaper clippings and magazine articles with your portrait. She clinks money-bags in your ears, and she tells you confidentially of the world-changing power of your influence.

She smiles on you kindly, and then sends you for your test through “the dark valley of prosperity.” Few people pass through it immune; few acquire no perversion of mind; few escape fractures of ideals or new dents in character. But if through it all, you remain just as good and simple and lovable as when you began the trip (remain kind, strong, sympathetic, sincere, and unspoiled), Nature is glad indeed to admit she has found a real individual of character — a great man or woman.

It is called “the dark valley of prosperity” because it, so often, dims the vision to the finer realities of life. In the early stages, in the dimness, you cannot see your old friends as they pass. You become afflicted with peculiar muscle spasm which prevents you from extending your hand to someone no longer necessary to you. You acquire a form of memory impairment which prevents you from remembering past favors, and debts of gratitude, due to those who stood by you in your hours of need. You do not notice your increasing chest expansion.

In the dark valley, your dearest hopes and your high ideals often slip away into the silence — for they have been replaced by avarice and ambition, dressed in a livery of gold, which you (near-sightedly) have mistaken for a higher good.

In the shadows, your conscience — the eye of the soul — may become so dulled that it cannot see the distinctions between genuine honor and dishonor, rationalizing everything away, like the lawyer who says, “Well, it is technically legal.”…….

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