David Brooks’ “Humility Code” from his book The Road to Character has a summary of what he has been talking about all through his book. START HERE to begin my review.
The long road to character begins with an accurate understanding of ourselves. This one will hurt: we are flawed. It gets worse: we tend toward selfishness and seeing ourselves as the center of the universe. (Obviously, this drew a lot of nasty comments in the comments section of Brooks’ column in the NY Times.) We hate to admit where we are starting. We think so much better of ourselves, but in doing so lose out on an honest evaluation of what is ahead.
Admit we’re flawed… but also understand we have tremendous gifts and opportunities. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Brooks actually uses the word sin (another huge comment section followed on THIS big social no-no): “We do sin, but we also have the capacity to recognize sin, to feel ashamed of sin, and to overcome sin.”
We have to see the struggle and the road to character begins when we engage the struggle. The powerful examples he gave all through his book were stories of overcoming. He would tell stories of people who knew their fundamental flaws and overcame them to contribute something significant to their world.
The biggest victory is NOT “changing the world.” The biggest victory is overcoming the flaws and see character form within.