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Pepper de Callier: Things to Think About

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“Character is formed in the stormy billows of the world.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Someone once explained to me that we can act like anyone we wish when everything is going okay and we’re feeling pretty good. I’d say that’s true enough. For most of us, when we don’t feel unduly challenged and we feel pretty sure of ourselves, we can be patient, calm, understanding and empathic—even humorous–the very model of maturity and equanimity. But, when circumstances push us to the edge of our comfort zone and beyond, this is when our true character is revealed. This is why it is so important, when interviewing people, to explore a difficult situation they’ve had to deal with and how they dealt with it. How do they describe what happened? Do they accept their fair share of the blame, or do they point out the incompetence of others? Are they a pronoun “terrorist” in that they use “I” and “Me” when talking about successes, and “They” and “Them” when recounting the cause of setbacks? Finally, I always like to ask how this experience—the setback—has changed their behavior. Have they learned anything and applied it? Now, we beginning to understand more about someone’s true character.

Good luck on your journey!

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