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To understand negative character traits, you first need to understand the terms character, negative, and traits. Only then can you identify them in yourself and work on making changes. While that may seem overly simplified, it isn’t.
Your character is the total sum of who you are as a person. It’s what people would consider as your nature or personality. A trait is a distinctive attribute or aspect of your character or personality. On the other hand, the term “negative” is an adjective used to show denial or refusal. When used in relation to character, it is used to indicate something bad and unacceptable.
But what does this have to do with you, as an athlete, and improving yourself? Let’s start simple, and build from there.
What are Negative Character Traits?
Understanding these three terms will help you know what negative character traits are. These are distinct aspects of your personality that are bad and unacceptable. People around you consider these behaviors unattractive. Such attributes of your character are potentially detrimental to your life as an athlete who wants to succeed.
How Negative Character Traits Impact Athletes
Sometimes hugely successful athletes will temporarily get away with poor behavior. But not for long. Sooner or later those negative aspects of one’s character always come back to haunt that person. And when that happens, the athlete in question may lose loved ones, their reputation, and even the income revenues that accompany their success.
Real life example
Tiger Woods is an excellent example of how negative character traits can catch up with you when you least expect it. He is one of the most successful professional golfers of all time. He is also one of the best-paid athletes around. But his reputation took a huge hit in late 2009 when one of his affairs became public knowledge.
Over the next several months, Wood’s multiple extramarital affairs bloomed into full veiw of the world. Hypocrisy is one of those negative character traits that people do not like. The man who had a squeaky-clean family man image exposed himself in many ways as a hypocrite. The revelation that Tiger Woods was a cheater broke his marriage, which ended in divorce.
In the aftermath of these cheating scandals, several companies either suspended or stopped their sponsorship deals with him. These included Gillette, TAG Heuer, Gatorade, and General Motors among others. Woods and his team lost money due to the drop in endorsement deals. One study estimated that Wood’s scandals cost shareholders of his major sponsors up to $12 billion!
Things have not been the same for Tiger Woods ever since. He did regain some of his athletic form, but he has yet to attain the levels of success that he had before his cheating scandals. And on August 2017, police arrested Woods for driving recklessly under the influence. Imagine one of the world’s best golfers having his mug-shot circulated online around the world!
Cost of negative character traits
Your negative character traits can and will cost you. You may lose your good name. You may also lose your sponsors and the income that comes from them. Also, you may lose the respect and love of your family members, friends, colleagues, and fans. Suffice it to say, it’s crucial for you to address the negative aspects of your personality.
How to Identify Negative Character Traits
How should you go about identifying your negative character traits? Well, your conscience is your first stop. Many times, when you misbehave, there is that gut feeling that tells you that what you are doing is wrong. Don’t ignore that feeling.
Your family and friends are close enough to you to help spot the negative attributes of your character. They have probably mentioned some of the things that they don’t like about you. Just think back to the last time you had arguments with them. What did they say in the heat of the moment?
What about your teammates and coaches? Have they ever said anything? Maybe you need to pay close attention to what they are telling you. If you are the kind of person who reacts badly to the truth, you need to sit them down and ask them what you need to change. Let them know that you are willing to hear them out this time around.
8 Negative Character Traits
So, what are the possible negative character traits you might have as an athlete that you should be dealing with? What negative aspects of your personality do you think you may be holding you back?
Here are eight negative character traits that are common among some athletes and may be an impediment to your success.
Aimlessness is the lack of focus and purpose. If you want to succeed as an athlete and yet you are not goal-oriented, then you have a negative character trait that you should address. Studies show that over 90 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions never fully achieve them. And many of them set goals related to fitness workouts, weight loss, and healthier eating.
As an athlete, if you do not take the time to set goals or work towards meeting them, then you need to change this aspect of your personality. It is vital for your life to have a purpose. You need to always aim at something higher. It could be something as simple as getting more flexible or breaking a personal fitness record. If you do not challenge yourself to work towards something, you will waste the entire year just doing the bare minimum and nothing else to better yourself athletically.
People often say, “Pride comes before a fall.” And this is indeed true. That is not to say that you should not take pride in your achievements. But there is a limit to celebrating your accomplishments. No matter how successful you are, you will not get very far if you are arrogant. An inflated sense of self-worth is a terrible thing to have.
You may be successful in your chosen sport. But as a human being, people may not like you very much. And if you make mistakes or get in personal trouble, your irritating behavior may cause people to decline to help you. Your cocky behavior may also cause your team to struggle. It’s difficult for sensible people to deal with fellow athletes that want to be the center of attention always. The list of successful but proud players varies depending on who you ask. Examples of arrogant players include baseball’s A-Rod and MMA’s Ronda Rousey.
3. Lack of self-motivation
Are you a lazy athlete? The lack of inner drive is one of the negative character traits that you may have. If you are the kind of athlete who cannot work without supervision, then you lack self-motivation and inner drive.
Becoming a successful athlete and maintaining that success requires you to stay driven even when there is nobody to encourage you. Research shows that junior athletes with self-drive and motivation are less likely to experience burnouts. But everyone’s brain is wired differently. Lacking motivation is something that you may only be able to manage, and not eliminate. One way to do this is to copy what leading athletes are doing. That means hiring a personal trainer to keep you on track. You can also train with teammates on a regular basis to stay on course.
4. Unwillingness to accept criticism
Are you open to constructive criticism? If the answer is no, then you will end up in a world of trouble at some point in your life. If you get mad or angry and throw tantrums when corrected, then your image will suffer at some point. And that’s not all; you will also be unable to deal with your weaknesses. This, in turn, may lead to poor performance or injuries in the future.
Just recently, Serena Williams found herself in hot water because her coach offered help from the sidelines. She did not take it well and continued to argue with the umpire who issued multiple warnings. In the end, she was penalized for her behavior and fined $17,000. She also lost the game. Her tantrum has sparked debate on the issues of sexism and outdated tennis rules. But what no one can deny is that the situation overshadowed Naomi Osaka’s win.
Not all criticisms count. But when you agree to participate in a sport whose rules you know well, be sure to accept the bad with the good. You need to remember that how you come across to your fans will also affect your income, brand value, and how your competitor feels.
5. Inability to manage stress and anxiety
There are plenty of stressful situations that you will encounter as an athlete. Competition and unreasonable expectations will also pile on the pressure that you will feel throughout your career. Failure can also heighten your despondency. And if you have a hidden mental illness, the odds of you struggling in the future are that much higher.
If you are poor at coping with stress and anxiety, then you need to do something about this negative trait. Otherwise, you may come across as being emotionally immature, which is not good for your reputation.
A good example of how poor stress-coping strategies can affect your career involves one former Olympic Taekwondo champion of Cuba by the name of Angel Matos. After he got injured in an Olympic match in 2008, the referee disqualified him for taking too much time out due to the injury. The ruling was in line with the sport’s rules. But Matos got so mad that he pushed the judge and then proceeded to kick the referee in the face. The World Taekwondo Federation banned him for life.
Do take the time to seek psychotherapy services to learn how to cope with anxiety. Alternative coping strategies may include music therapy and meditation.
Are you the kind of person that never takes the time to thank people around you who play a role in making you successful? Well, ingratitude is one of the negative character traits that some athletes may have. It is a highly unattractive personality attribute. And it may end up spilling over to your personal life, where you may end up offending people and lowering your brand value. Many elite athletes have learned to be grateful for the contributions of people in their lives. You need to learn to do the same.
7. Lack of integrity
If you are dishonest and lack integrity, then at some point in your life, your behavior will catch up with you. And the backlash may affect your reputation forever. Lance Armstrong is a good example.
For a long time, Lance Armstrong was the darling of the cycling world — a man who not only conquered the Tour de France seven times but also cancer. In 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) exposed him as the ringleader of one of the most sophisticated doping programs ever seen.
In the beginning, he chose to deny the allegations of being a serial cheater. But in the end, he stopped fighting them. As a result, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) stripped him of all his wins, starting with those he got in August 1998.
Armstrong found himself banned from all sports that followed the World Anti-Doping Code. As a result, he ended up losing $75 million of endorsement revenue in one day. In 2013, he admitted on Oprah Winfrey’s show that he was guilty of doping. His behavior tainted the cycling sport forever.
Your lack of integrity and the need to take shortcuts to win dishonestly will not only wreck your reputation but can also cost your team their win and lose you money in the long run. You will also experience fan hate.
8. Lack of discipline
Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya recently set a new Marathon world record of 2:01:39. He broke the previous one by more than a minute! He credits discipline as one of the reasons for his extraordinary success.
If you don’t follow sports rules strictly and adhere to your training regimen, now is the time to get rid of your indiscipline. Your inability to do the right thing continuously and consistently is standing in the way of your athletic success.
Get Rid of Negative Character Traits Fast
There is no doubt that your negative character traits can affect your performance, reputation, brand value, and money-making abilities. You need to get rid of them or learn to manage these negative aspects of your personality effectively. They are detrimental to your overall life as an athlete and will impede your success if you don’t get rid of them fast.