Character Growth Through Crisis

The Crucible of Crisis

Life can be hard. It’s full of mountain tops and valleys, victories and defeats, celebration and mourning. The valleys, defeats, and times of mourning are difficult but can be beneficial in your growth and maturity. Specifically, character growth seems to happen quickest and most frequently in times of crisis. I call these times the crucible of crisis.

There are three types of crisis that we face:

  1. External – these are situations we have no control over. Examples: a layoff, tornado, recession, etc.
  2. Personal – these are situations that we are partially or fully responsible for causing. Examples: financial struggles, an unsuccessful relationship, poor health, etc.
  3. Voluntary – these are times where we willingly enter the crucible of crisis. Example: hiring a personal coach, seeking critical input, going to counseling, etc.

There is one key factor that determines if you will experience growth through the crucible of crisis or not:  HUMILITY.

David Brooks in The Road to Character describes humility as the awareness that there’s a lot you don’t know and that a lot of what you think you know may be distorted or wrong. Pride is the opposite of humility. 

In a crisis, pride puts you in a posture of defiance and self-reliance. You fight back against the struggle trying to reclaim the position you were at before the crisis began. Your goal is to regain what’s been lost and to get back to a place of stability.

However, humility puts you in a posture of learning and vulnerability. It leads you to a place of self-awareness, introspection, and reliance on others. It’s in the valley of humility where you discover the components necessary for future growth and maturity.

Pride says, “I can do this alone.” Humility admits, “I need others.”

Pride says, “I know the right path forward.” Humility admits, “I’m not sure what I should do next, I want to learn.”

Pride says, “Others are at fault and I’m a victim.” Humility admits, “I had a part to play in this.”

Pride leads to stagnant, arrogant leaders that no one wants to be around. Humility causes leaders to empower others and have great relationships with their teams.

Humility is always the best choice.

Question: Share a time where you experienced the crucible of crisis? What did it look like to take a path of humility or pride? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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