This I Believe

Lori - Palatine, Illinois
Entered on May 18, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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What do you do when no one’s around? The teacher steps out of the room for a moment while you are taking a test after school. You know exactly where the answer to question 24 is. Do you look? There is a minimal chance of being caught! The answer to this question is crucial in determining your true character. I believe that the measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. I believe that one’s perception of the environment is constantly reflected through cognitive thoughts, attitudes, observable behaviors, decisions, and even dreams. Knowing this, I firmly believe there is truth to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s impression, “People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.

If there is any one thing that is evidenced by your daily choices, it is your character. Our opinions of the world are displayed in our actions, even though we are not always completely aware of it. As shown in the example of whether or not to cheat on a test, we can tell a lot about a person’s character from the choices they make. By not looking up the answer to that test, you have shown your ability to differentiate between right and wrong. Your morals are portrayed in daily actions and in tough situations. For example, I was raised with lots of love, care, and with strong religious teachings. My cousin invited me to a teenage party one weekend. When I was offered a can of beer, I stood up for myself and refused to take the alcohol despite all the peer pressure. I left the party immediately, which demonstrated that I was not easily influenced away from what I knew was right. Therefore, I believe personal values are important because they influence a person’s behavior to weigh the importance of alternatives.

Thoughts will also affect the way someone lives, the way they appear to others, and eventually the way they die; thus, displaying a person’s character in either situation. One’s disposition may also seep into his dreams. I believe that our dreams reflect the same thoughts, fears, concerns, problems, and emotions that are present when we are awake. I believe a person who has negative thought processes during the day will likely have dreams that involve his pessimistic views. For example, if you knew that you had an important test coming up and had a cynical disposition throughout the day, it seems likely that you will dream about taking the test and failing miserably. For a person with a positive outlook on life, the opposite is true.

Most people don’t realize their character is based on the way they perceive the world or their attitude towards life. Although one can argue that there are other influences on a person’s character besides their opinion of the world, I believe one’s perception of the world is definitely a factor in defining character.