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The importance of Character

One of the many headlines calling for a presidential change in the weekend newspaper came from the New York Times Editorial, “It’s time for Zuma to step down”. This editorial joined many other voices in this call.

Whether you are a detractor or supporter of the beleaguered president, the overarching appears to be that of character. Any public figure will come under the ruthless spotlight of public scrutiny, and the best that can be hoped for is a character that evidences in private what is shared in public.

How important is character in the journey of entrepreneurship or building an impactful career? Very important in every way!

Abraham Lincoln said, “Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree.“ Our character is much more than just our reputation, what we try to display for others to see. It is who we are even when no one is watching. Having a Good Character means doing the right thing just because it is right to do what is right.

The dictionary definitions said character is a “complex of mental and ethical traits“, that those traits, or qualities, are “distinctive to an individual” and that they are “built into an individual’s life.” It is those character qualities, those character traits, that determine a person’s response in any given situation. For example, a person in with a strong character quality of truthfulness is much more likely to accurately report the facts in a given situation than a person who tends to be characterized by deceptiveness. Someone who has the character trait of alertness will be more likely to be a better, safer, driver than a person who does not see or recognize the potential dangers around him (carelessness). A person with the character quality of tolerance will be more accepting of others – less prejudiced.

Success or failure in any situation or endeavor depends, more than anything else, on how we respond to events and circumstances. It follows that it is our character that determines our success. Of course, that doesn’t mean that “good” people will always experience more “success” than “bad” people. There are, however, some character traits that tend to lead to “success” and others that tend to produce “failure.”

There are some organizations committed to helping others in the building of character. One of these is Character Counts.

Here are the 6 pillars of character used to build into young people in the USA.

The Six Pillars of Character is a framework for teaching good character and is composed of six ethical values (characteristics) everyone can agree upon: Trustworthiness; Respect; Responsibility; Fairness; Caring; and Citizenship. Each of the six character traits are used within the CHARACTER COUNTS! program to help instill a positive learning environment for students and a “culture of kindness” making schools a safe environment for students to learn. The Six Pillars of Character values are not political, religious, or with a culturally bias.

They use the mnemonic acronym of T.R.R.F.C.C. to help remember each pillar.

Trustworthiness
Think “true blue“ • Be honest • Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Build a good reputation • Be loyal — stand firm when tested

Respect
Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule • Be tolerant and accepting of differences • Use good manners, not bad language • Be considerate of the feelings of others

Responsibility
Do what you are supposed to do • Plan ahead • Be diligent • Persevere • Do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act • Be accountable for your words, actions, and behavior.

Fairness
Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded; listen to others • Don’t take advantage of others • Don’t blame others carelessly • Treat all people fairly

Caring
Be kind • Be compassionate and show you care • Express gratitude • Forgive others • Help people in need • Be charitable and altruistic

• Citizenship
Do your share to make your school and community better • Cooperate • Get involved in community affairs • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect those in authority

What do you think of these pillars? Being intentionally mindful of them can help to build…….character that lasts.
Here’s to being people of character, who add value not only by what they do, but by who they are (Remember, Character is what you are in the dark!)

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