Where Leaders Come to Think

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Double Your Influence


There is an ancient community of people called the Phrygians. According to legend they believed that every time they conquered an enemy the victor absorbed the physical strength of the victim and added to his own strength and valor.

I believe that when we learn to conquer our negative thinking we double our potential in life by strengthening our character.

“Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It seems that, in all of life, the most courageous have done so by learning to endure. This endurance is the making of leaders, and the determining factor that distinguish between living a “good” life and living a “great” one.

Hardships develop character – if we let them.

Thinking back, how do you usually respond to hardships? Do you hide emotionally and avoid things? Perhaps you, like many, rage in anger? Pain, often times, stops our progress and causes us to regress in our leadership journey. John McDonnell said, “Every problem introduces a person to himself.” If what he says is true, that means we get the opportunity to know ourselves better through the hard times in life.

This can be a positive thing unless we forget that our character matters.

“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.” – Billy Graham

I believe that we can develop character through hardship by understanding that we, by enduring, are strengthened by our trials. We double our inner resolve and grow in confidence by learning the differences between fear and faith.

  • Fear would have us become Invisible – Faith challenges us to become Influential
  • Fear would have us be Alone – Faith would have us united in community
  • Fear says to be erratic – Faith says to be confident
  • Fear says you are weak – Faith proves you are strong
  • Fear keeps our problems hidden – Faith shines them under a light

Growing through hardships is a challenging endeavor. As we learn to overcome fear through faith, our character is positively multiplied giving us empowered ability to perform. Obviously, the Phrygians didn’t gain some supernatural strength by their conquests. They did, however; use the hardships of battle as a way to gain wisdom and double their influence.

It’s this get up, dust off and get going mentality that makes the Everyday Leader an Everyday Champion.

Everyday Champions Challenge:

Take an inventory of how well you are doing today.  How are you feeling? What emotions are ruling your day? In what ways can you learn to develop your character instead of giving in to automatic negative thinking?  

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  1. David

    Great post! It has me thinking…since God loves to develop the character of His children, He created this world as the perfect training ground to accomplish that task. God’s Survival School 101…drop a person off in the middle of a remote and hostile location with only limited supplies…scripture, faith & prayer! Now survive and navigate your way out! If that doesn’t develop character, what will!

    • Mark Mathia
      Mark Mathia02-19-2014

      You know David putting it that way brings up two thoughts: First, I want to say really God? Isn’t there a better way to build my character? Second, I want to say thank you God – what would our lives be without adventure and challenge. I’m very thankful that I have a part to play in a larger story. It’s so much better than the idea of an eternal worship service in a cloud. 🙂 Thanks David great insights.

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