A Good Character: The Best Passport To Have.
“Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”- Abraham Lincoln
During this pandemic, several people have been restricted from travelling. This period has been an eye opener to several things, including how countries treat their citizens. I have observed how American and European citizens are being evacuated from various parts of the world, and in comparison with my country, Nigeria, the difference is clear by a wide margin. It is important to note that there is a growing trend that clearly portrays the nexus between our passports and our character. There are certain passport holders that are given automatic entry to other countries, and also enjoy other privileges while some other passport holders like the Nigerian passport holder are often disparaged and constantly under scrutiny by various countries.
Why this vast difference in treatment? It is because we have been characterized by our passports. Our passports can open or close doors for us and character also does the same. Character is often revealed through the choices we make, our thoughts and our actions.
Often, a person in a position of power tends to presume that people hover around him/her because of love. I dare say this is an erroneous presumption. If you really want to test your true character, picture yourself with no money, no fame, nothing to offer, and see how people would accept you when you have nothing. Only a person with a good character will endear people to them after leaving a powerful position that attracts many.
Building a good character is a work in progress, and it is a journey that is worth taking because a good character outlasts a person. It is enjoyed by future generations. You need to leave a great legacy for your successors. Going back to the comparison between a passport and character, Nigerians have had a long history of being judged badly by other countries. Why? Because of the bad characters exhibited by a handful of Nigerians in various parts of the world, and now there is a global perception about Nigerians that is not quite accurate. But guess what? We represent our country and our character is a depiction of who we are as a nation!
My favorite bible person who portrayed a good character is Joseph. Joseph was a good person through and through! He had a good character, and even in prison, he did not change. He used his gifts of interpreting dreams even when he was not in a comfortable position. His good character ultimately led him to become the Prime Minister in Egypt; and when he was in a position of power, he not only forgave his betrayers, he also helped them succeed. He was consistent both in good times and bad times. We need to learn a thing or two from Joseph.
A lot of people have given others the right to pursue and succeed in their character assassination based on their past and present deeds. The best way to checkmate or find the truth of your true character is by doing an analysis of “who you say you are” in comparison with “what people say you are”. Therein lies the truth.
It is not too late to rebuild your character. You must have genuine intentions, you must seek the truth, and you must be willing to put in the work. Even collectively as a nation, our leaders must begin to practice attitudinal change, teach it to younger citizens, create a reward system for having a good character and at the end, we will be able to rewrite the negative impressions of our character to become positive.