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Personal Creed

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The James Farley Post Office in New York City has an inscription that reads, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Most people assume this is the U.S. Postal Creed, but the Post Office has no official creed.

Through the years, the statement has gained popularity and many consider it the U.S. Postal Service's unofficial creed. It's a noble statement of dedication to duty and faithfulness to a noble responsibility.

This creed got me thinking about our personal creeds. Individuals have unofficial, unspoken and unwritten creeds that reveal their desires and character. We demonstrate this standard in our lives by the way we live our lives. We proclaim it to everyone who knows us by the things we do.

It would be enlightening to take a moment and consider the message and substance of our personal creed. The philosopher Socrates, just prior to his execution, admonished Plato that "the unexamined life is not worth living." He was proud as he faced his death that he had aggressively lived life in the pursuit of knowledge and truth and knew himself.

Let's not wait until we face death to learn if we were on the right track. Let's examine ourselves now and make changes if needed. By asking ourselves how we respond to the various challenges in our lives, we learn who we really are. Be honest - are you really industrious? Do you dive in and look for solutions and win-win scenarios? Are you are a slacker who looks for the easy way out? Are you studious and careful to understand situations and new ideas or are you lazy and don't really care? Are you selfless or selfish? Do you take into account the concerns of others or just your own concerns?

By looking at how we respond to challenges, we further learn if we are givers or takers, contributors or sponges, kind or harsh, supportive or judgmental. We learn who we really are. We learn if we are good stewards of the things that we have or people who waste our blessings.

Are you developing your talent, honing your skills, working to improve and deepening your relationships or do you squander and waste the tangible and intangible things in your life? Do you balance work and family or do you neglect an important part of your life? Do you live for the moment at the expense of your future or do you take stock of your time? Do you abuse your health or care for it?

These questions answered honestly, help us identify our personal creed and reveal more clearly an understanding of our character to enable us to improve. Many people believe that what they "think" is the measure of who they are. But I disagree. The measure of a person is a blend of motive and action, not merely desire. You may want great things for yourself, believe in high and noble standards and speak high morals. But acting in ways so that our lofty words and ideals find substance in the way we live, well, that's the true measure of who we are.

You may ask, "What can I do to make positive changes?" Do you need to enlist God in your life changes? I did. It put my life in proper perspective and it gave me an unchanging standard.

Do you need to enlist the help of others? I did. It helped me face my pride and develop my humility. Remember, we all have tender egos so don't just ask your friend what they might want you to improve. Ask also what they appreciate about you and build on it.

Do you need a mentor? I did. I needed someone who would hold me accountable. Accountability makes all the difference and is a vital key to lasting change.

Do you need goals? I did. I needed to measure my progress so I could stay hopeful, change is anything but easy.

Whatever your life creed, with help, it can improve dramatically toward your desired end state and you can enjoy the unequalled satisfaction of a noble character and the rewards it shares.

I read something the other day that goes so well with this article I couldn't pass it up. Speaking of the Post Office, what is the value of a stamp? Well, it's whole life, meaning and value is tied to its ability to stick to just one thing until it arrives at its goal. Take stock, get started on your goal and stick to it!