Your choices are a reflection of your character

  • Published
  • By Capt. Mark A. Taylor
  • 36th Medical Operations Squadron
Each day brings the opportunity to make personal and professional choices, and each choice is a reflection of a person's character. One ingredient of character is the capacity to assess situations or circumstances and draw sound conclusions - judgment. In other words, consider the consequences.

People with sound judgment consider the consequence of not wearing personal protective equipment, lacking situational awareness, allowing anger to dictate one's behavior, misusing alcohol, sacrificing integrity, repeating gossip, compromising values, and performing substandard work. People with sound judgment learn from their mistakes and don't repeat them. They also learn from others - supervisors, friends, safety briefings, etc. 

Our high-tech society brings with it an expectation of immediacy. We want things instantly, whether it is coffee, lunch or a feeling. Judgment requires time. It requires a moment to reflect on the possible consequences of our actions. It requires time to consider how our actions may affect others. It involves a moment to assess whether the action is consistent with our values and long-term goals. 

A lack of judgment resulted in 178 DUIs in Pacific Air Forces last year. It endangers others and creates unnecessary injuries. A lack of judgment produced numerous sexual assaults - 74 percent involving alcohol. And 65 percent of PACAF sexual assaults were Airmen attacking other Airmen. A temporary lapse in judgment can have permanent consequences. 

As we train and prepare ourselves for professional and personal success, we must also consider our character. We must consistently practice good judgment and challenge others to do the same. We must seek out information, take time to consider consequences, and we must make the choice to do the right thing. This is the sign of character.