Character is built through hardship and adversity, but strong character is absolutely not the inevitable result of these conditions.

Whether someone grows in character or self-destructs depends entirely on how he or she responds to those circumstances. Setbacks and struggles can shape us into something exceptional or something entirely unremarkable.

It is how we respond to the difficulty, what we learn from it, and what we do next that holds the possibility of a character upgrade, not the adversity itself. When tested with trauma and distress, some people become better; some become bitter.

From time to time, adversity abruptly and tragically comes out of nowhere. More often, adversity is the inevitable conclusion of a string of sloppy or unwise choices. In either scenario, how we respond will determine who we become as a result.

Our character is the essence of who we are. It’s the sum total of our thoughts and habits, our vices and virtues.

Yet character isn’t part of our DNA. Rather, it’s something that develops throughout our lives with every choice we make. Helen Keller said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambitions inspired and success achieved.”

We never quite know what we are made of until we are put through the fire. When you face difficulties, take a close look at how you respond.

And, opt for remarkable!

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