Character is built in private.
When no one is watching.
Character is built when you tell someone you’re going to do something, then leave to do it.
I used to read Sports Illustrated when I was a kid. I’d usually scan through the magazine looking for any article about baseball. If it wasn’t about baseball, then I wasn’t reading it.
But there was one exception: an ad about basketball.
The basketball ad.
There was a basketball player standing at the free throw line. The stands were full of fans, and they were all going crazy. They were trying to throw him off his game. There was almost no time left on the clock, and the there was only one point separating the teams. The players on both benches watched the ball as it left the player’s hands.
It was a fold out ad. When you unfold the ad, you get a different picture.
You see the same basketball arena, but there are no fans in the stands. The stadium was dark, silent, and lonely. The clock wasn’t turned on, and there was no score on the scoreboard. The benches were empty.
But the player was still there at the free throw line.
Basketballs littered the floor while he practiced his free throws.
“Character is what you do when nobody is looking.”
That was the one line in the ad.
All these years later, that line is the one that rings loudest when I’m alone with my work.
What are you doing when nobody is looking?