*Character: the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing. One such feature or trait. Moral or ethical quality. Qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity. A reputation. An account of the qualities or peculiarities of a person or thing. A part or a role; a person represented in a drama.

The more I live, the more I learn (thank goodness). And, I must say that I’ve been scratching my head a lot lately at people’s behavior. Call me crazy (which some people do), but I’m finding that many people are playing a character rather than displaying good character. Maybe with the onset of the reality TV frenzy, we’re all practicing for our potential big break. Maybe, just maybe, if we act crazy enough, someone will find it worthy of watching.

I, unfortunately, cannot use the real life situations that I want to regarding my own experiences, so as to not feel the wrath of the guilty (as opposed to protecting the innocent). However, there are countless other scenarios that I’ve witnessed. I’ve been out with people who profess to be “people” people, but are very rude to the person at the Starbucks counter for no reason. I’ve listened to people talk about how nothing bothers them, then go off on their assistant for a minor mistake. I’ve read writings from authors who write about love and relationships, but can’t actually maintain them.

I’ve a “great leader” speak very condescendingly to his direct reports. I’ve seen the shifty and the shaky pretend to be solid, after I’ve had to pick up the pieces from the people they’ve demeaned and broken (some people would say they should toughen up. I say why, if that’s not their truth?). I’ve seen people take major short cuts on deals to get more money when they should have taken more time for the client. I’ve listened to people switch sides back and forth depending on who they thought was going to end up the “winner”.

None of us is perfect. There’s no manual on raising humans. We just sort of do it. However, the proof is in the pudding. Insecurities have a way of showing up in our character. Instead of addressing the insecurities, sometimes we just dress them up and pretend they’re something else. The problem is eventually, they come out in the ways I mentioned above.

We can pick a character to play in this life and spend our days creating that wonderful “land of make believe”, constantly looking around, in hopes that we’re not found out. Or we can look within, learn who we are and display good character as we express it.

Monica Cost is communications strategist, brand manager and respected corporate and motivational speaker. She is the President and Founder of Evidently Assured, a brand & talent management firm.  Email her at:  [email protected]. Follow her via Twitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost.