William Straton Bruce said “Character is nurture and nature. It is nature disciplined and cultured, so our natural inclinations are brought under the power of a moral motive. To produce the desired character, we may engage in certain activities and behaviors that we believe will help get us there. It is just like strength-building, but you are building character rather than muscles.”
1| Be Self-Supportive
Unless you are disabled, you are in total charge of your life. No one owes you a living. Not the government, your parents, or your employer. Acknowledging this is the first step to becoming a better person. Nobody has a good sense of self-esteem if they feel someone else is in charge of taking care of them.
Robert G. Ingersoll, in the 1800s, said, “The first duty of every human being is to take care of himself, and being self-supporting births self-respecting. It is dishonorable to live on the labor of others, whether by cunning, by borrowing, or by force.”
2| Seek More Knowledge
Everybody has room for improvement as nobody is perfect. One of the most straightforward ways of progress is through education. The character-building lessons you’ll learn in your pursuit of more knowledge are as important and has an impact on how much you’ll earn from that knowledge in the future. According to Harold Geneed, the respected business leader, “Every employer in the business world looks out for two things, skill and character.”
3| Spread Kindness
Amongst the best ways to build character is kindness. You grow in character when you practice kindness to others. Most times, we’re tempted to say outrageous things either by the behaviors of others or by who’s watching. However, a strength of good character lies in being kind and pleasant.
When you make kindness to others a habit that is not influenced by how you feel or the struggles you’re currently facing, you’ve taken giant steps in building a desirable character. In simpler words, your character will grow when you spread kindness.
4| Strive For Excellence
People do not know or care how long it takes to get something done. They only care about how well it is done. A person isn’t praised for their character because of their position or a title they carry. They are renowned because of the way they carry out the task assigned to them. According to Booker T. Washington, the famous biologist, “Any man can be considered a man of character if he makes up his mind to do very best every day.”
5| Be Persistent
Another characteristic of people of character is persistence. People of character do not bail out when things get tough. They persevere and keep pushing forward. Everyone goes the first mile because it’s required of them.
However, people with character always go the second mile, where excellence is achieved, and miracles happen. The willingness to go the second mile is what distinguishes people of character from others.
Practicing persistence isn’t easy at first. However, it gets easier the more you keep at it until it becomes effortless. In the words of Dean Karnazes, “Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”
As an endnote, strive to consistently add value to whoever you meet, whatever you do, or whatever transaction you’re a part of. Leave everyone you meet better than they were when you met them.
At work, ask yourself what you could do to make it better. With friends, ask yourself what you can do to make their lives easier. Apply this question and look for ways to add value to everything around you.