Each and every one of us has three components: our reputation, our personality, and our character. Our reputation is what people think of us. We invest most of our efforts in perfecting our reputations. Why? The reason is that the effort is very little, and the reward is immediate. All we have to do is watch a politician around election time to understand the concept. To be seen by people as kind, they take pictures with an orphan child and, if this news makes the headlines, then they have reached success. To repeat the point, our reputation is what people think of us.
When it comes to your character, you are in full control. Nobody can ruin your character
Our personality, on the other hand, is how we present ourselves to people. We spend money, time, and effort on improving our personality. For example, personality enhancement classes teach us how to enhance our smiles. The intention here is to sell an image of ourselves. We are showing people not who we really are, but how we want to be seen.
Then, there is our character, which is who we really are. To sum up the definitions, reputation is what people think of us, personality is what we seem to be, and character is who we really are. Most of us do not invest enough in character. We like to invest more on reputation and personality, but tend to neglect our character. Sadly, it is our character that truly defines us. If we have good character, then the other two may follow close behind.
Rewards of having good character may not be immediate. In fact, many times people with good character may go unnoticed. Oftentimes, good character may be a problem for an individual in this life. When everyone around you is a cheater, your goodness and honesty becomes a problem. We may say, ok, forget character then! But, wait! People can only ruin our reputation, but our character can only be ruined by us! When it comes to your character, you are in full control. Nobody can ruin your character. Your character is of your own making, your own choice. As you live life, you are the author of your own life. Reputation is the camouflage. Character is the real thing. Our investment must go into our character, and the rest may or may not come. Alhamdulillah if they do come.