What have you done lately to forge your character?

Today is March 29 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “what have you done lately to forge your character?” The word forge is defined as 'making or shaping a metal object by heating it in a fire or furnace and beating or hammering it.'

This heating and forging metal is akin to taking the steps necessary for you to achieve your goal or dream. It takes tremendous effort to translate dreams into action and blacksmiths provide an example of those who forge metal into their vision. You need to have the right tools for the job. You need to have a vision of what you want to design. You need to couple heat with striking the metal with tools hundreds of times to translate your vision into reality.

In other words, forging metal into a specific form requires a good deal of effort. So, does creating your life. Dr. Russell Grieger, a licensed clinical psychologist and author of Developing Unrelenting Drive, Dedication, and Determination: A Cognitive Behavior Workbook believes that “insight is necessary but not sufficient,” and helps his clients understand “that, to get better, they need to work hard, really hard, not only during our sessions, but also in the days between our sessions…The measly forty-five minutes you spend with me each week pales in comparison to the hours you spend with yourself, unwittingly rehearsing and practicing your irrational thinking and dysfunctional behavior. I'll do everything in my power to teach you what to do, but, if you don't work your therapy every day, you could very well come to our next appointment next week worse than better.”

Grieger’s words echo those of the adage "You cannot dream yourself into a character. You must hammer and forge yourself one." French-Cuban author Anais Nin navigated the chaos by forging her character.

As Nin wrote “What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.”

Nin changed her destiny and is now hailed by many critics as one of the finest writers of female erotica. She was one of the first women known to explore fully the realm of erotic writing, and certainly the first prominent woman in the modern West known to write erotica.

Before her, erotica acknowledged to be written by women was rare, with a few notable exceptions, such as the work of Kate Chopin. According to Volume I of her diaries, 1931–1934, published in 1966, Nin first came across erotica when she returned to Paris with her husband, mother and two brothers in her late teens. They rented the apartment of an American man who was away for the summer, and Nin came across a number of French paperbacks: "One by one, I read these books, which were completely new to me. I had never read erotic literature in America… They overwhelmed me. I was innocent before I read them, but by the time I had read them all, there was nothing I did not know about sexual exploits… I had my degree in erotic lore."

Nin altered her character to develop both personally and professionally. Do you?

What have you done lately to hammer and forge yourself into a character?