Ethos Anthropos Daimon

Heraklitos wrote, "ethos anthropos daimon," which means "character is destiny." Heraklitos, (or Heraclitus, which I think must be the Latin pronunciation of the Greek name) lived from 535 to 475 B.C. He was a Greek philosopher.

Here's my take on that phrase: What you are will determine how your life turns out. If you add all your character flaws and character strengths together, you could almost predict the outcome of your life, your dreams, and your ambitions.

And if you'd like to change that ultimate outcome, you can. How? By strengthening even more your already-existing character strengths (or expressing them more), and by doing something to minimize or alter your character flaws.

If you are in the habit of lying right now, and if you continued that habit unchanged for the rest of your life, your destiny would look a certain way. Maybe you would have relationships that never became very close or intimate, for example, and you might not ever really know why. Maybe you'd suffer from a kind of low self-esteem because you know you're hiding something and it makes you feel like a coward inside. However it turns out, the point is that the habit of lying has a certain outcome over time. It produces a certain constellation of results.

But if you changed it, if you started right now practicing honesty, and if you continued to do that day after day, and maybe even got better at it, the predictable outcome of your life would change to something noticeably and measurably different. In each of those individual acts of integrity, you would be altering your destiny.

Adam Khan is the author of Self-Reliance, Translated and Principles For Personal Growth. Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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