Years ago I made the mistake of saying that I wasn’t “good enough” to my father. I didn’t think much of it. In fact, I am certain that it wasn’t the first time that I uttered those words. But it was unquestionably the first time he heard me say them.

Before I had a chance to offer an explanation, he was well into a 45-minute lecture about self-worth, pride, and most of all, character. He said more than I’ll share here, but one of the takeaways was this:

Character resides in honesty and fairness, and not under the shroud of self-benefit.

In a quarter short of an hour, my dad was able to deliver a lesson that equipped me with the ability to greet disappointment head-on. He reminded me that to be a better man, and an appreciated friend, I must memorize Kipling’s words: If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, make allowance for their doubting too.

Tough decisions are lonely work. Accept that some do not have the courage to make them.

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