Success and good character often go hand-in-hand. In any environment we find ourselves, we consciously or unconsciously look out for people with good character. We also try to disassociate ourselves from those with character traits we consider bad. The sad thing however, is that only a few of us actually seek to continuously improve our own character.
Everyone wants to be successful, but it takes a lot to actually achieve success. Most people rarely hold themselves to the standards they expect from others. Consequently, this may be a success inhibitor. I’m in no way saying that Character is the only success determining factor. All I’m saying is, building character is as important as any other step you would take to achieve success. It should therefore not be neglected. It is both essential for individual success and the success of the society at large.
Definition of Character
Character is defined as a trait, quality or high moral code. It is a standard of excellence. It is therefore an adherence to one’s values and principles, based on the action you take each day. This is to say, that what you value in your heart will definitely be seen through the actions you perform. These actions are then termed “Character”. For example, if you value “Giving” you would actually live out “Generosity” as a character.
Character traits can be good or bad. For instance, good character traits include (but are not limited to) Generosity, Integrity, Patience, Impatience, Selflessness, unfaithfulness etc.
For the purpose of this article, we will take success to mean “the accomplishment of a goal or purpose”
Why is Character Important?
Good character builds trustHuman interaction is an important part of goal achievement. A character flaw is enough to discredit you. If people think your character is flawed, you might have a big problem staring you in the face. Your potential to influence decisions & make some leadership calls may face a lot of break points. Similarly, your intentions won’t be trusted and people may be unwilling to follow / trust your directives or decisions.
Good Character motivates othersIf you occupy a leadership position of any sort, truth be told, your subordinates are watching you. They are learning from you too. If you’re loyal to your moral code and exhibit good character traits, good employees will pick up on this. They will be more supportive, leading them to work harder towards the shared goals of your group, organization or company.
Character helps you perform your roleWhatever your position or level in hierarchy in an organization, if you’re true to yourself, you would notice that your character affects how you carry out your assigned duties in the organization. Your character determines how you make decisions at work. Do you compromise your values just to “get ahead” at work? Do you treat people rightly in that organization you’re heading? Your character determines how well you perform and the influence you have on those around you.
Good character facilitates good relationshipsCharacter is what makes people believe in you, and when they believe in you, a relationship is facilitated. This relationship could be a business relationship, family relation or friendship. Relationship is another essential success foundation.
If a businessman, for example, makes promises to customers and doesn’t deliver, he destroys his relationship with his customers. The customers can decide to go elsewhere and buy and without customers his business fails. This happens in other areas of life too.
Character can make or mar a relationship, which in turn affects individual or societal success.
Businesses need good employees with good character qualities
The success and failure of a business or organization depends on the character qualities of the people in the business. It affects productivity, profitability and in the long run, the success or failure of the organization. Many employers have employed people based on knowledge, achievement and wits. However, quality of their character has become an important factor for employment in recent times.
In Summary, building your character alongside your long list of achievement is important to achieve success.
You want to achieve “Success” in Education? No problem, these tips will help you!
How do you build character?
Building character is not an easy task. The first step in building character is to notice the character trait you’re struggling with.
“The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one”
― Will Mcavoy
After you have identified the one you are struggling with, find resources that can help you learn and practice these traits.
The following steps can also help you in your journey to build character.
Live out your principles or valuesLiving out the principles and values you hold dear will make decision making easier and build your character. Therefore, compromising your values isn’t advisable. This is because the character people see us display is who we are to them. People can only know your values by your actions.
Be humble and open to correctionsNobody is perfect, as we all are on a journey to attain perfection, therefore, you’d definitely make mistakes. Be humble when someone points out a bad character trait you have displayed and take correction. In order to build your character, you must be open to correction and new ways of doing things.
Be intentionalCharacter building is not a passive action. That is to say, it doesn’t happen by accident. Be intentional about your actions, thoughts and habits as we are a product of these things. Making a habit of doing the right thing builds your character.
Surround yourself with people of high characterHere the saying “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are” comes into play. You can’t hang around with people of poor character and expect to be any different. However, you can hang out with people you admire who possess the traits you’re looking to build. Pay attention to their actions and try to learn from them.
‘’Character is both formed and revealed by how one deals with everyday situations as well as extraordinary pressures and temptations. Like a well-made tower, character is built stone by stone, decision by decision.’’
– Michael Josephson
Not convinced “Building Character” is important for success? This article by Ron Kurtus might interest.