- Thoughts for inspired living

December 28, 2007


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 10:18 am

I was musing last night about a talented young man who hasn’t enjoyed much success. I wondered, what prevents him from catching fire? Then The Grasshopper chimed in with this phrase: “Lack of character.”

It got me curious to what he meant by “character” because the pronouncement felt right and rang true.

I had to find out what “character” meant to me. I immediately thought of Alan Watts and something he outlined when giving a lecture on Taoism. He said the Chinese character “li” represents the non-symmetrical essence of something – the markings in jade, the grain in wood, the fiber in muscle, the flow of water.

That was it. This fellow lacked authenticity. He doesn’t display the natural markings of jade. They are airbrushed away when you experience him. His character is obscured by layers of veneer. You never get to meet the real him because his cardboard cutout is interacting with the world.

There is always a discomfort registered at some level when you are in his presence. Also, you would never want to be in a foxhole with someone who doesn’t display character, because they would give you all the appropriate answers and none of the actions to back them up. You may label that as cowardice. That’s a harsh characterization so let’s explore what may be the real issue. The coward can never courageously act because he thinks his bravery comes from the imaginary movie role he plays versus from his authenticity which he is afraid to put on display. The real fear is not being enough, so he adds layers and layers to his essence to protect himself.

He thinks his natural self doesn’t measure up to the cultural image he has crafted. That’s why he keeps it hidden. The sad news is that his marquee image of himself reeks with superficiality and everyone recognizes it. The only people he connects with are the people with the same character issues – mainly superficial in nature. There aren’t any deep connections because you have façade interacting with façade.

His talent is also affected by his artificial coating. When we do whatever it is that we do, we put energy into our work. If that energy is the low grade variety that comes from shallowness, our work will never catch fire. The results of this work may have all the earmarks of success but for some reason not many are buying in. Your work lacks character which stems from you.

If you seem to have all the requisite skills, but continually make no headway, you need more than a break. You need a breakthrough. You’ve got to crack the hardened, painted plastic that you are calling you and reveal your natural grain. When you get down to the bare wood, your natural beauty will be recognized by all – except the superficial. They will leave you for the next cultural grand opening.

All the best,


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