I recently watched an episode of the television show, “How The Lottery Changed My Life”. They showcased several lottery winners, none of whom I felt I would ever care to meet… aside from one.
The last lottery winner described how, shortly after her lottery win, her husband unexpectedly went into complete liver failure, necessitating an emergency liver transplant. A suitable donor was only found at the last possible moment. Tears filled her eyes as she recalled just how close her husband had come to dying.
Through that experience, she realized that life isn’t about the money. Her perspective was completely changed. She spoke of how her relationship with her husband had become so much closer than it had been before. It had become her priority, while her lottery winnings had taken a back seat.
The other lottery winners had become more self and possession focused after their lottery wins but this winner had become more relational and outward focused. Her time and generosity have benefited many charities, and that isn’t about to change. She never wants to forget the lessons she learned through the tough times.
I was reminded that character is rarely developed in the good times. The saying, “no pain, no gain” can probably be extended to more than just exercise. As much as we prefer otherwise, it usually takes pain, difficulty, and/or loss for us to learn the most important lessons in life.
The people I’ve met or have known who have had the greatest characters were almost always the ones who had a story of pain to tell. But not just pain. Gain too. How pain had changed them and changed their lives. And how it had changed their perspective and priorities.
I read that the 6 pillars of character are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. I don’t know who came up with that list or if it’s exhaustive or even accurate.
But their summary is without debate…