Strong Foundation: 5 Ways to Develop Deeply Rooted Character in Your 20s and 30s

Published on
November 6, 2023

Consider that you are in your 20s or 30s, right? Adulthood is no longer a distant reality; you stand firm with good foundational character. But there's a niggling voice in your head saying, "I need to step up my game. How can I mold my character to stand the test of time?"

Building character is like crafting a diamond. It's a process that involves pressure, heat, and time. But what if I told you there's a more surprising and unconventional path to creating your personal diamond?

Let's not kid ourselves. It's a challenging road ahead, full of self-reflection and pushing boundaries. It's about facing the uncomfortable truths, solitude, failure, lifelong learning, and generosity. Sounds intriguing, right?

A strong personal character is like having an inner torch that lights your path even in the darkest times. It is what defines you beyond your job title or your social status. It's the real, unfiltered you.

Hold onto your hat because we’ll dive into the unconventional and the extraordinary. A path less trodden but oh so worth it. Are you ready to create a character that doesn't just sparkle but shines brilliantly? Let's get started!

Navigating Character Development: A Road Less Travelled

Now that we understand why character matters, how do we strengthen it? Here are five unconventional ways that have worked for me and might work for you.

Embrace Your Failures: Turning Setbacks into Character-building Moments

Picture yourself facing a seemingly disastrous failure. Feels like a punch in the gut, doesn’t it? The thing is, failure isn’t the supervillain it's often made out to be.

What if we stopped seeing it as a sign of weakness and started viewing it as a character-building, secret weapon?

Articles like Failing Your Way To Success: Why Failure Is A Crucial Ingredient For Success by Anna Powers and Why Failure Is Good for Success by Pauline Estrem highlight how failure can pave the way to resilience, creativity, and personal development.

Failure is an unexpected mentor that doesn’t spoon-feed us but makes us earn every bit of wisdom. It's like trekking through a dense forest with no map, only to emerge with a sense of direction you didn't have before.

Suddenly, your navigation skills aren’t half bad. Consider a public-speaking flub. Your knees buckled, your voice cracked, and you felt like a deer in headlights. Embarrassing, sure.

But that mortification can fuel your determination to nail it next time, pushing you to practice more and improve. Failure isn’t the opposite of success; it is the stepping stone toward it.

Master The Art of Solitude: Rediscovering Yourself in Silence

When was the last time you sat alone in silence, lost in your thoughts? Silently listening to your interior thoughts. I mean alone, without your phone buzzing or the TV blaring in the background?

Silence and solitude are a breather from the noise and distractions of the world. In those quiet moments, you can hear your thoughts, reflect on your actions, and better understand yourself. It's like peeling back the layers of an onion, getting to know yourself one layer at a time. We also must live in community with others.

In their The Spiritual Disciplines: Solitude and Silence blog post, Brett and Kate McKay share that these disciplines of solitude and silence are crucial to the health of the soul (and of society).

Maybe you're thinking, "I barely have time to breathe, let alone spend alone!" But solitude isn’t about escaping to a mountain cabin. It could be as simple as waking up 30 minutes early to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee or swapping one TV show for a solo walk.

Practice Mindful Discomfort: Seek Out Challenges to Strengthen Resilience

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Cheesy, right? But oh, so true. If you want to develop strong personal character, you need to challenge yourself regularly.

Let's focus on an idea that might seem counterintuitive: purposely choosing discomfort. Sounds nuts, right? But stick with me. Ever tried to lift a heavy weight without working up to it? Yeah, it’s not happening.

Recent blog posts like 6 Reasons Why Your Comfort Zone Is Holding You Back In Life by Justin Harmon and The Power of Discomfort: Why Doing Things That Make You Uncomfortable is Key to Professional Growth by Ashley Robertson explore the transformative power of embracing discomfort. Remember, diamonds are created under pressure, and so are individuals with exceptional character.

It’s the same with our emotional muscles; we must build resilience by tackling small challenges. It’s like dipping your toe into a cold pool before plunging in or tasting a small bite of that super-spicy dish before diving in.

You're allowing yourself to adjust, adapt, and prepare for the big plunge. Maybe it's starting a tough conversation or committing to a fitness regimen. Each challenge you face willingly adds another layer to your resilience.

Adopt a Lifelong Learning Mindset: Beyond Degrees and Diplomas

You’ve probably heard the phrase "lifelong learning". No, it doesn’t mean going back to school at 65. It’s a mindset, an attitude. It’s recognizing that learning doesn’t stop after graduation; it just changes its form.

Benjamin Franklin once said,

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

He was spot on. The University of Cincinnati documents four reasons why life learning is essential: it benefits your mind, your career, your mental health, and your social life.

To build a strong character, it's crucial to stay curious and never stop learning. That could mean picking up a new hobby, taking an online course, or simply reading a new book every month. I've personally found that every new thing I learn adds another layer to my character, making it richer and more complex.

The aim is to continually expand your horizon, feed your curiosity, and broaden your perspective.

Be A Generous Giver: The Untold Power of Altruism

Lastly, let's explore the power of altruism. The idea is simple: do good, feel good. Ever noticed the warm, fuzzy feeling when you help someone, expecting nothing in return? That's altruism flexing its muscles.

Don't get it twisted; altruism isn’t about grand gestures. It’s in the everyday acts, like sharing your umbrella with a stranger on a rainy day or sending an uplifting message to a friend who’s down. These small, selfless acts aren't just mood-boosters but also character-builders.

You're nurturing empathy, kindness, and compassion, attributes of a truly strong character.

Character: The Foundation of a Fulfilling Life

So, here we are. We've journeyed through the thickets of failures, the solitude of silent self-discovery, the challenge of discomfort, the curiosity of lifelong learning, and the profound simplicity of altruism. It's a lot to take in, right?

Perhaps you're sitting there, screen in front of you, thinking, "Alright, these strategies are unconventional. But can I apply them? Can they genuinely shape my character?" Well, my friend, the only way to discover is to leap.

This is your story, and you're the main character. These unconventional strategies aren’t a magic wand but a tool, a resource, and an ally in your journey.

Character is not just a buzzword you see on inspirational posters. It's the essence of who you are. It's what you're made of, your grit, your mettle. And developing a strong personal character in your 20s and 30s sets you up for a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Your journey towards becoming the best version of yourself, a person whose character not just shines but illuminates others too.

Remember, change is a process, not an overnight flip of a switch. You've got the foundations, the grit, and the determination. Now, it's time to put these unusual tools to work and witness how they transform your character and, ultimately, your life.

Remember, every day is a new opportunity to write your character story. Let's make it a story worth telling.

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