Special Delivery ~ #flashfiction

The Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction prompt for January 30, 2020: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a postal carrier in an extreme situation. Even if you base your story on a true one, focus on the core trait of this postal carrier. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 4, 2020.

“Mr. Prichard, are you home?”

Jeanine nudged the door further ajar. Why was Mr. Prichard’s door open, she wondered? Her instincts kicked in. The hairs on her arm stood on end.

Regulations required postal workers to be alert for older patrons. If they didn’t pick up their mail regularly, a call to the police was mandatory.

But Mr. Prichard was her friend, and she couldn’t leave without making sure he was safe. She stepped inside the kitchen. The old man lay on the floor in a pool of blood. Without thinking, she dialed her phone.

“911 what’s your emergency?”

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

In my story above, Jeanine exhibited caring, effort, initiative, and courage when she recognized that something was wrong at Mr. Prichard’s house. Those core traits will make her a hero in any story.

I’ve shared Coach Bill Moore’s Character & Mental Toughness- 11 Core Character Traits below. Most of these traits are geared toward building our own character as decent human beings. However, these are perfect for character development when writing novels or short stories.

The core traits are listed below in the chronological order in which I suggest they should be acquired.

1. Humility – One must be humble enough to realize that there is room for improvement.  Often times one must be humbled before they will embark on a quest to improve their character.   Humility eliminates ignorance. Humility may be learned through experience or study.  Learn all you can of humility. Learn how to be humble and the benefits of humility. Learn to maintain your humility.

2. Caring – One must learn to care about something or someone. This could be another person, a team, a cause, a goal. Caring about but something or someone provides a catalyst for improvement. Caring eliminates apathy. Caring is best focused on someone other than you. Caring may be learned through experience or study.  Learn all you can of Caring.  Learn how to care, and the benefits of caring. Learn how to continuously care.

3. Teamwork – One must learn how to work with others towards a shared goal.  This interaction allows one to practice selflessness and sacrifice.  In return one gains from the insights and abilities of others.  A team could be any group at home, at work, in activities, or in sports.  Teamwork eliminates justification. Teamwork may be learned through experience or study. Learn how to be a part of a team and the benefits of teamwork. The best teams are the ones where members give one another their best character. Learn how to become a valuable team member.

4. Effort – One must learn how to work hard. Learn how to produce a product of excellence.  Learn the types of effort that are possible.  Learn all you can about effort and its benefits. Learn how to consistently put forth an excellent effort.

5. Courage – One must learn how to get beyond their fears.  Learn how to summon and maintain bravery. Courage may be learned through experience and study. Learn all you can of courage and its benefits.

6. Initiative – One must learn to do things they recognize need to be done without being asked.  Initiative may be personal as in setting a goal and taking action to achieve it. Initiative may also be for the greater good of a group. Initiative may be learned through experience and study. Learn all you can about initiative and its benefits. Learn how to recognize opportunities for initiative moving forward.

7. Discipline – One must learn how to maintain focus in order to develop consistency. Discipline allows one to learn how to start, continue, and stop their thoughts and actions. Discipline may be learned through experience or study.  Learn all you can of discipline and it’s benefits. Learn how to maintain your discipline.

8. Perseverance – One must learn how to overcome the inevitability of obstacles and adversity.  Perseverance may be learned through experience or study. Learn all you can of Perseverance. Learn how to persevere when faced with challenges moving forward.

9. Commitment – One must learn the depths of devoting themselves to the completion of a goal or cause through the commitment process. Commitment may be learned through experience or study. Learn all you can of Commitment. Learn how to commit in the areas you participate in and recognize the commitment level of others.

10. Leadership – One must be willing and able to inspire and guide others.  The ability of the leader grows through the leadership process.  Leadership may be learned through experience or study.  Learn all you can about leadership.

11. Awareness – The highest level of character. Awareness requires a certain mastery of the other ten traits. When one becomes aware, they recognize variables and connections that most others cannot see; near and far, large and small, past and present. Awareness allows one to see events and behaviors from a variety of perspectives, thus coming to a truer conclusion.  Awareness allows one to make better informed decisions.  At times awareness even allows one a glimpse of future outcomes. Learn all you can of the previous 10 traits and this eleventh trait will naturally develop.

I will add that mental toughness, while sharing some qualities with these core character traits, is actually something separate.  I have too often seen students and athletes who had excellent character cower under the pressure of stress caused by pain, inconvenience, and expectation.  To me, mental toughness is simply the ability to maintain and apply these core character traits under pressure. In order to be truly successful, one must have both character and mental toughness.

Great ability will allow you to excel in one area.  Great character & mental toughness will allow you to excel in many areas to the best of your ability. If you and/or your organization master these core traits, then you will be better prepared to successfully pursue your specific endeavors. Until you do, your weakness in these areas will impede your performance or the performance of your organization. (If you doubt me then keep this in mind the next time you or your organization hit an impasse). These core traits are at the foundation of sustained success.

Visit Coach Bill’s blog HERE.

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About Colleen Chesebro: WordCraftPoetry

Colleen M. Chesebro is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of syllabic poetry. A published author, Colleen is also an editor of “Word Weaving, a Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse, also found on wordcraftpoetry.com. Colleen’s mission is to bring the craft of writing syllabic poetry to anyone who thinks they can’t be a poet. Recently, she created the Double Ennead, a 99-syllable poetry form for the Carrot Ranch literary community at carrotranch.com. Colleen’s poetry has appeared in various anthologies and journals including “Hedgerow-a journal of small poems,” and “Poetry Treasures1 & 2” a collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on “Writing to be Read." Colleen published “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry,” which illustrates how to write various syllabic poetry forms used in her Tanka Tuesday challenges; and a collection of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories called, “Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration,” dedicated to the Summer Solstice. She contributed a short story called “The Changeling,” in the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020,” published by Plaisted Publishing House. Find Colleen at Word Craft: Prose & Poetry at wordcraftpoetry.com.
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  1. This is a great flash fiction, the best part is you left us looking for more 💜💜

  2. Ewww! I mean that in a good way! <3

  3. Great work! I really enjoyed it?

  4. Well done, Colleen.

  5. Mr. Richard’s door was open? He was found on the floor in a pool of blood? Wow, I love mystery story. Well done, Colleen!

  6. I love this mystery story, Colleen!

  7. Great post today, but your story was my favorite part.

  8. Great take on this weeks FFC!

  9. A wonderful short story focusing on caring about others, sis. <3

  10. D.L. Finn, Author

    A good story and something this world needs in abundance:)

  11. Terrific story Colleen and tutorial…♥

  12. Thanks for sharing these tips and characteristics, Colleen. I enjoyed your flash fiction.

  13. Great article! Wonderful advice for all of us whether fiction or in real life.

  14. A guy just down the street from me died in his house not too long ago, and a wellness check by the police found him. I’m not sure who made the call, but apparently it was a week before he was found. The initiative shown by this mail carrier may not have been in time, but it feels so much better to find a person’s body quickly so as to show respect.

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