YEAR 1 - LESSONS 19-36



It’s important to tell the truth to people, even when we don’t feel like it. You’ve been told this many times— to tell the truth to others—but what is frequently left out is that you need to tell yourself the truth, too. Unfortunately, people lie to themselves all the time about how good or bad they are, or how good or bad a situation is. The reality is that you and your situations are never as bad or as good as you think they are. It’s usually somewhere in the middle.
The lies you tell yourself will try to change your beliefs and actions. Don’t let the lies shape your reality; confront them whenever they occur.


A minute may not seem like much. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if we waste a single minute? Yes! When we get reps at wasting a small amount of time, we get great at wasting a large amount of time. Think about social media. You start scrolling for just a minute, but then one minute becomes two, and each scroll takes you deeper into the social media coma until you realize it’s midnight.
Minutes wasted during the day turn into minutes lost sleeping at night. Don’t be a walking zombie during the day, make the most of every minute you get.


Comparison is the thief of joy. When you compare yourself to others, that comparison steals the joy you would otherwise have in your accomplishments. Whether your comparison decides that another person is better or worse than you, it affects the way that you treat others because how you think changes what you do. You start to think there isn’t enough awesome to go around. As a result, your joy is stolen because you feel that you are not enough.
But the truth is, you are enough. And, there are ways that you can work on stopping the comparison war, so you can enjoy being yourself more.


We usually hear the phrase “Be kind” in terms of not being unkind. That’s a great start, but kindness is more than not being mean or unkind. Kindness and empathy go hand in hand. Kindness is doing good for other people when you see they need it because you know what it’s like to need someone to do good for you. For example, being kind with your thoughts is seeing the best in others instead of the worst. Those kind thoughts will translate to kind words and actions. And all of this kindness comes from a place of empathy.
Being kind doesn’t just mean not being unkind, to ourselves or to others. To be truly kind, we have to intentionally empathize with others and express that empathy through thoughts, words, and acts of kindness.


Anger isn’t any more inherently wrong than fire. But like fire, it can be destructive if it’s not kept within boundaries. You have certain rights when it comes to your anger, but those rights can be forfeited if you let your anger control you instead of the other way around. The more you control your anger, the more even-keeled you will be.
The more you can be angry without committing any of these anger rights violations, the more even-keeled you will be able to remain. And, the more even your temperament is, the better leader and teammate you will be.


It’s easy to complain. It’s much harder to get involved to make a change for the better. Complaining leads to chaos, not solutions. Involvement leads to solutions, even if they are imperfect or incomplete. When you find yourself complaining, you can recognize that as an opportunity to get involved, to be a leader, to spark change.
If there’s something you don’t like about your school or your community, go out and do something about it! Even if you aren’t looking to fix a specific issue, getting involved on campus on in your community is beneficial because it helps you make friends (which banishes loneliness) and discover your purpose.


Your body language tells others more about you than the words you say because it reflects who you are and what you are thinking without a filter. Body language is within your control, at least to some extent. Control starts with your beliefs and thoughts. When you let limiting beliefs take root in your mind and spin up negative stories for you, those beliefs affect your body language.
Limiting beliefs left unchecked will affect both your body language and your actions. You can control your body language by controlling your beliefs and being conscious of the way you hold yourself.


How do you bring it when you don’t feel like it? Motivation doesn’t last. Willpower is finite. So, what will actually last long enough to help you keep going? The answer: your mindset. When your mindset is short-term, solitary, and passionate, future-you is going to pay the price for present-you’s actions (or lack thereof). On the other hand, when your mindset is long-term, accountable, and planned, you don’t need motivation or willpower to get things done; instead you utilize your choice-muscle.
The motivation won’t always be there to get things done. But it’s not motivation’s fault if you don’t reach your goals. It’s yours. Reaching your goals isn’t about how you feel, it’s about the mindset you choose.


How do you evaluate yourself? By looking at other people’s best and comparing yourself to them? Or by looking at what you’ve done to see how far you’ve come? Everyone wants the mirror to tell them that they are the best, the prettiest, the smartest, or whatever “-est” matters most to them. But, that thinking misses the point. The question isn’t how do you become the best of them all. The real question is: how do you become the best you that you can be?
Everyone wants to be the “-est.” But instead of asking how you can be the “-est” of them all, ask how you can be the best you that you can be.


The language around respect in our culture often boils down to: “You have to give respect to get respect.” But this view leaves out the fact that respect is more about who you are than about who the person you are talking to happens to be. You don’t give respect to get respect; you give respect because you are a person of integrity.
It’s easier to say what respect isn’t than what it is, but we know it when we see it. It helps to remember that respect is about who you are, not who the other person happens to be. When you are a person of integrity, you show others respect because that’s just who you are.


You don’t have to play sports to be on a team. Whenever a group of people works together for a common goal, that’s a team. So how do you make a team work? You’ve got to do work: first alone, then with others.
A team is a group working together to reach a common goal. You will be on many teams in your life, and learning how to be a good teammate is critical to your future success and the success of your teams.


A title doesn’t make a leader, and a leader doesn’t need a title. You can be a leader in your school or community just by acting in ways that a leader acts. But, that choice to act as a leader comes at a cost. Leadership is worth the cost. But, you have to be aware of those costs and prepared to pay them when you accept the responsibilities of a leader.
A title won’t make you a leader; only your actions will do that. There will be a cost to your leadership actions, but the cost is worth it.


TLike your phone, you have a finite amount of energy, and you use it throughout the day. There are some things in life, such as worry, loneliness, and comparison to others, that drain you faster than an extended social media scrolling session drains your phone battery. But for every energy-draining thing that you encounter, there are opportunities for you to recharge.
Just like using your phone drains its battery, going about your day will drain your energy levels. But, there are always things that you can do to recharge. If loneliness, comparison, or worry are draining you, there are antidotes that will help you become fully charged again.


No one will go through life undefeated. Even the most talented, hard working, everything-always-goes-their-way individuals will lose at some point. The important thing is how you lose. If you lose your temper at a failure, if you fail to learn from the mistake, or you lose yourself because you lost in the game of life, then you aren’t losing well. The way that you lose determines the way that you win. When you lose well, you are better able to win well.
How you lose determines how you win. Strive to always lose well, so that when you win, you can win well, too.


What type of student are you? How you answer that question will have an impact on how you reach your goals, now and in the future. There are four answers to this question: content, complicit, committed, compelled. Let’s dive in.
Content. Complicit. Committed. Compelled.
What kind of student are you? How you answer this question makes all the difference now and in your future.


There is a much wider, more fascinating world out there than anyone can really appreciate alone. It takes seeing things from multiple angles and understanding multiple viewpoints to really see the bigger picture of the world you live in. But, there are three lies people believe that keep them from seeing the bigger picture. Naturally, each of these lies also has an opposite truth. Let’s look at both.
These lies will try to block you from seeing the bigger picture, but now you have the truths needed to combat the lies and live a richer, more open-minded life.


A great friend is someone who goes the extra mile. They go the extra mile in telling the truth, wanting the best for you, and telling you ”no” when that’s what you need to hear. Even when it’s awkward or inconvenient, a great friend will continue to go the extra mile.

If you want to have great friends, you have to be a great friend and go the extra mile for them. Tell the truth, want the best for them, and tell them No when that’s what they need to hear.


The 2Words Character Development curriculum is all about spreading hope. There are a lot of people peddling dopey ideas and dopey drugs out in the world. But you don’t have to buy into their lies. No matter where you are or what circumstances you are dealing with on a daily basis, there is hope. Whether the obstacles you face in life are internal or external, there is always hope available.
The curriculum is drawing to a close with this final lesson in receiving hope for yourself and giving hope to others as a hope dealer. The lessons are done, but the journey doesn’t really end here. There is always more to learn. From lessons that you already took to heart, there are new things to find. From lessons that went over your head or didn’t quite connect, they will make sense at a later season in life.



Stephen Mackey, CEO & Founder

Stephen Mackey is a player development coach, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal best-selling author, and founder of 2Words Character Development, one of the top Leadership and character curriculums in the country. Building on the Six Pillars of a Championship Character – Toughness, Integrity, Belief, Excellence, Effort, and Service – Mackey equips teams and organizations to elevate their performance by building a culture of character.
Patrick Jones - Course author