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20 Nov 2016 | Target Mains: Weekly Essay Challenge

  • Fame is vapour, fortune an accident, riches have wings, only character endures.

    Instructions: Write the following essay in 1000-1200 words.

    Attached video contains feedback on the essays submitted by students.

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  •  Discuss @discuss

    Hi guys, we have included a video discussing students essays and on how to attempt the essay. There is also a blog post on the essay here –

  •  MIR MAHAMOOD ALI @mir-mahamood-ali

    What does that mean?
    This is a pile-driver way of pointing out the obvious. Fame has no endurance, just think of sports or Hollywood stars who have come and gone. Popularity isn’t really reliable either, if you can recall your days in High School. As for riches, for those who have a 401k or any investments in the market, you know just how fast things can change.

    The quote ends with the comment that the only thing that actually endures is character. At, character is defined as “Moral or ethical strength.” and “Public estimation of someone; reputation.” What you do, repeatedly, is what you become, and that is eventually noticed by others. Even in death, your reputation may well follow you.

    Why is character important?
    Character is also sometimes described as “That which you do when no one is looking.” A person’s character, whether perceived or actual, impacts how we deal with them. Someone who behaves and speaks in a shifty or disreputable manner will be treated differently than someone who behaves and speaks in a manner we considerable honorable.

    It may seem inappropriate to judge people by how they act and how they speak, but experience often tells us otherwise. If you have known some people who lie, cheat, and steal, and then meet someone who behaves and speaks in the same manner, one would expect certain precautions would be taken by a prudent person.

    How you behave and how you speak are part of the ‘first impression’ that people talk about. How will someone who does not know you react when you first meet? Your character, that set of behaviors and beliefs which you do regularly, will be a large portion of what they see. People tend to see me as a geek, and as fairly trustworthy. How do people see you and your character?

    Where can I apply this in my life?
    Let’s start by examining habits. What do you do on a regular basis? Do you tell the truth 100% of the time, 50% of the time or somewhat less? What you do on a regular basis will become an aspect of your character. Please note that I consider it far more important to be honest with yourself than to appear better than you are.

    By being honest with yourself, you can note where you are not as you wish to be, and can take steps to correct the differences. If you are not honest with yourself, what point is there in continuing on in this exercise? Please take the time and be as certain of your answers as you can be.

    We talked about truthfulness, one of the key aspects of character, but there are many others. Some of them may be cultural or societal in nature. Only you know what is important to you and your definition of character, and even for what kind character you wish to be known.

    What have you come up with? How well do you think you did? As I have done this before, I’m fairly close to where I want to be. You will be too, if you put some effort into improving those aspects you feel are lacking, and repeat the exercise a few more times.

    How you ranked your character attributes matters not, what matters is that you have identified some aspect of your character you wish to work on, to improve. I would pick three or four that you most want to improve and write them down. Circle the one you consider the most important to improve.

    With the list in front of you, consider when and how each of these aspect manifest themselves in your life. What do you do now, and what would you prefer to do in these situations? This is a before/after snapshot of how your character looks to yourself and others.

    Now all you have to do is determine how you will break your old habits and begin to drive the new habits deeply into your life. If you need help, there are coaches and web pages accessible from all over the world that talk about the all of the different methods to do this.

    Take the first step and look up a method or two. Read it, and then come up with the next step. And then take the next, and the next, and the next. Your journey is underway, and your goals draw closer with each step.

  •  Pranav Pathak @pranavce15


    1. Character-.pdf
    •  Cp @chandraprakash-varadaraju

      Read your essay. Examples were good. Thought you could add few dimensions
      1) Should character be only restricted to individuals? why not a community, religion, company etc eg: Enron, Satyam, languages that lack the character of accepting change, nations etc
      2) you spoke mainly of famous persons which kind of kills the point fame is vapour. Don’t every guy/girl worship their grand parents because of their character or i am sure every one will have their valued friends/teachers who are an inspiration despite not being famous.. try to quote some examples who are not famous
      3) Hitler is famous and he will always be… but the point of why and how are more important in deciding the nature of fame(whether someone wants to imitate you or not)

      Theses perspectives I thought could add on to your examples.

    •  Pranav Pathak @pranavce15

      @chandraprakash-varadaraju, thanks so much!! This is really helpful, especially the 1st point is brilliant!!

      What I got from fame being vapour is that character is a major input into fame and if the fame isnt gotten through a great character it doesn’t last.

      But I get your point, Jack the ripper is pretty famous too and well that couldnt be put to his character..
      in hindsight this is my criticism of the essay, I have concentrated too much on valor, fortitude and should have talked about other stuff – patience, honesty, sacrifice, inclusiveness, empathy.

      Thanks & All the very best!!

  •  Kunal Aggarwal @kunalaggarwal

    The world has seen great people who have made history and are remembered by people across countries. People like Mother Teressa, Mahatama Gandhi, Kofi Anan are remembered by people across the world and seen as examples even in contemporary world. We have all seen how Madam Suyi have peacefully worked for her people in Myanmar. With in India we have people like Rani Lakshmi Bai, Shivaji, Akbar, Guru Nanak who are well known for their distinctive character.

    Most of the people we remember in lives are not only because they had made achievement during their lifetime but because their character is a path to follow. Gandhiji has stood for non-violence even while standing against a powerful government. He believed in simple living and high thinking. People like Abar during Mughal Rule had flourished a multi-religious state where he was ready to learn from all religions and shows his respect for human much before religious orthodoxy.

    We remember people who do great things, achieve high fame, accumulate huge wealth but they are forgotten soon and remembered for this exceptional characters. Take Bill Gates, Dalai Lama for example in our world. I am sure we will remember them for their love for humanity. All the humanist teaching of peace, respect, welfare that they are teaching us wil be remembered for long. Fame, Fortune and Wealth are materialistic attractions of the world. They may well be needed but the underlying things that we are achieving should be based on our character. We remember Hitler for his hatred towards Jews and not for his wealth or position. Character makes history.

    Character is how you behave with others. It shows our moral and ethical standards. As we say, Actions speaks better than words, our values of democracy, respect for elders, diversity are reflected in our behavior. Fame is achieved for only a certain period of time. Take stars, sportspersons and businessmen for example. They are taken to heights due to their popularity but it is only for their performance, it is bound to fade over time once he stops performing. However, if the person is known for his commitment to work, his passion for the job he will be remembered. Similarly, fortune is temporary. It may well be with you today and not with you tomorrow. It is the character that remains with you forever. It will never fade away. Friends, family and relatives also remember one for character and not for wealth or achievements.

    Character building has been a major areas of discussion even in past. Thinkers like Plato have worked on designing a character for men and how they should behave for a better state. It has been seen to be important. Its importance is only increasing in todays world with increasing importance of materialism. For maintaining peace in the world, we need characteristics of peace, non-violence, humanity among political leaders of the world.

    Character is important for everyone be it a politician, businessmen, household, teacher or civil servant. A good character forges good relationships and a bad character bad relationships. A civil servant for example needs to be an empathetic, honest person with high integrity who can handle hard situations. People of the country remember great civil servants like Shanmugam Manjuthan and new officer in Bihar who ate with the lower caste people and set example for other to follow.

    Similarly, a businessman will be remembered in his circle for his values and not just for his empire. The empires are destroyed, handed over to new people but the name remains with the character one showed to the world. People like Ratan Tata have contributed to the freedom struggle and country’s development by providing jobs and building new industries. He has contributed to the welfare of people through Tata Trust as well. A businessman’s honesty, commitment and integrity is respected with in his circle and outside.

    Even among politicians, we remember those who have worked for people. Kofi Anan is no small example who has worked for freedom of South Africa. Nehru is known for his socialist ideas and Patel for his work among farmers. Sardar Patel is today seen as a symbol of peace. His character speaks for him even years after his death.

    The character one has reflects in one’s actions. It is not something that changes every day and is a quality which forms over time and sticks to the person. Family, society and educations plays an important role in shaping our character. Family is the first level of interaction after birth. If one sees a family with non-violent people, he will be non-violent. Respect for women comes by seeing equality for them in the society. In case, the child sees his father misbehaving with his mother, there are higher chances that he will do the same.

    Society is an embodiment of moral values that we as a community hold close. These values are adapted by people since childhood through interactions. Education system shapes the children. Through various activities and examples, it introduces children to various values and unique characters in the history.

    Our country is grappling with problems with ever increasing crime against women, crime against people from lower caste and environmental problems. Many of these problems can be shaped by inculcating building better character in people. A good character brings benefit to the person as well the country. We will be able to shape a better country if we aim at character building for the people.

    •  Dr.Baldev Chavda @baldevchavda

      every where you mention that fortune is temporary but my dear friend its accident i said ….i hope you got my point

    •  Dr.Baldev Chavda @baldevchavda

      every where you mention that fortune is temporary but my dear friend its accident i said ….i hope you got my point

  •  Ankita Sarda @ankitasarda92


    •  Ankita Sarda @ankitasarda92

      Part 2

  •  Harsha Yadav @sinceregirl06

    Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.

    It is a quote written by Horace Greeley which means that the thing which endures life time is niether fame nor popularity, it is the character of a person. A person is judged by its character for the whole of his life even when two unknown person meets they do not know the fame or popularity of each other but they will judge each other on the basis of there character. Character is the sign board of yours which is seen by others at first and then they respond you in the deserving manner. For example if a person meets with another person and judges that his character isn't sounding good and then he accidentally meets with a person having the same character, he'll be taking care of his actions and sayings by recalling his earlier judgements of a lousy character. Also, fame or popularity never endures for the whole of your life as you can see Hollywood or bollywood stars, sports persons, artists and so on, as the time passes their fame ends. But the character of a person follows him even after his death like Mahatma gandhi, APJ Abdul kalam and many more are known for their awesome character. Usually fame and popularity is treated with fake concerns, but a person with good or bad character is treated as the way he deserves. For example a person having pleasant character shall be treated in a good manner but a person with foul character shall not be treated in a respected manner. Basically, fame defines the hard work of a person but character defines the person. So, rather than only dreaming about fame or popularity or richness one should first pay attention to his character because latter is like the soul of the body which remains in it forever and former is like accessories that one wears for a limited time. Only then he will be able to handle his success.

This topic contains 11 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Discuss 1 year, 5 months ago.

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