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The Dictionary Definition of Character How Does The Dictionary Define Character? What is character?

One dictionary defines character as the complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person. In another dictionary, character is said to be the stable and distinctive qualities built into an individuals life which determine his or her response regardless of circumstances. The Real You: Our Character Is Who And What We Really Are Abraham Lincoln said, Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree. Our character is not just what we try to display for others to see, it is who we are even when no one is watching. Good character is doing the right thing because it is right to do what is right. Good Character or Bad Character? Everyone has character. Character transcends race, religion, education, position, age, gender, and personality. People sometimes think of character as something a person either has or doesnt have. They may say, He has character, meaning he has good character. We intuitively recognize the truth that everyone has character and we distinguish between good and bad character. Our Character Is What Determines Our Responses to Life Situations The dictionary definitions said, character is a complex of mental and ethical traits and that those traits, or qualities, are built into an individuals life. It is those character qualities, those character traits, that determine a persons 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 is not a truthful person. So, What Are These Character Traits? What are the character qualities, or character traits, that make up a persons character? How can they be built into a persons life? Can they be changed? If you and I were each to make a list of good character qualities, or character traits, both of our lists would probably include such words as

honesty, integrity, dependability, loyalty, enthusiasm, etc. Of course, there are many others that could be added. The list of character qualities that I like to use is the list identified by the Character Training Institute of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Character Training Institute list breaks character down into forty-nine specific, definite, character qualities (click here to view a list of these character qualities). Having a list such as this allows us to focus on specific qualities in order to build good character into our lives. By breaking character down into its basic elements in this way, we are better able to focus on building specific qualities into our lives. As we work on strengthening specific good character qualities, our overall character is improved. Honesty, for example, really consists of several more basic qualities truthfulness, dependability, diligence, etc. Therefore, when I work on becoming more honest, I do so by becoming more truthful, more dependable, more diligent, etc. How does our character affect our lives? It has been said that CHARACTER is the foundation for all true success. A person may have money, position, or power, but unless he has good character he or she is not considered to be truly successful. A Simple Example of How the Lack of A Single Character Quality Had A Bad Affect On My Life There is a more immediate sense in which character affects our lives. For example, consider this incident How My Lack of One Character Quality Damaged My Relationship With My Daughter My daughter, Heather, who was away at college, and I were talking on the phone. She had been telling me about some of the things that were going on in her life and I had been half-way listening but really had my mind on something else. (The Character Training Institute defines Attentiveness as showing the worth of a person or task by giving my undivided concentration .) Then Heather asked me a question and my answer made it obvious that I had not been paying attention to what she had been saying. I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was hurt by my lack of attentiveness. I mentally kicked myself, and apologized to Heather, but it was too late. The damage had been done. Heather was gracious, but I knew she felt that I just didnt care enough to really listen to her. My lack of attentiveness had damaged our relationship maybe not a lot, this time, but if repeated over and over the cumulative effect could be devastating.

Here are two more examples of the effect of character qualities on our lives How I Got A Speeding Ticket Because The Deputy Was Not Alert How A Restaurants Employees Drove Future Business Away Our Character Determines Our Success We do not often think of character as having such a direct effect on our successes or failures. But when we consider the individual qualities that together make up a persons character, we can easily see that it does. Students who struggles with math can often succeed by being diligent to study and work problems every day and by persevering when he/she is tired and would like to quit. Magic Johnson, one of basketballs all-time great players, developed his skills in part by practicing every day as a youth. He demonstrated determination and persistence. Abraham Lincoln became President after repeatedly losing elections for lower offices. His character was such that he would not give up. There are endless examples how attention to detail has made the difference, how diligence has paid off, how a persons dependability has put them in line for promotion. There also are many, many negative examples. Richard Nixons failure to be truthful evenually led to his downfall. O. J. Simpsons apparent lack of selfcontrol caused extreme problems for him. A students lack of diligence led to him not being able to complete his course of study. Character Really Does Determine Success. How does character affect the world around us? The World Needs Better Character! Todays world faces many difficult problems. Escalating crime, drug and alcohol abuse, workplace violence, gang activity, vandalism, school dropouts, deteriorating work ethics, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, racial tensions, broken families The list seems endless. At their root, all of these problems spring out of the lack, or mis-application, of good character qualities. If we are to find lasting solutions to the problems of our day, we must deal with these roots! We must work to improve our own character, teach good character to our children, and help those around us to improve their character! Character development is essential to the ongoing success of our society. That is why Character Education is so important. Character truly is the Key to Success! Businesses Need Good Character

Many business leaders are learning that it is counterproductive to focus only on achievement and profit, without emphasizing the character qualities that form the foundation of the achievement. A business whose employees are developing greater attentiveness, more alertness, more responsibility, and more diligence will certainly become much more successful. We must think in terms of developing character. Character training is essential for lasting success in business! Go here for information on How To Implement A Character Training Program. Character Improvement Is Real Self Improvement How We Can Improve Our Character Benjamin Franklin designed for himself a plan for building character that certainly seems to have been successful in many respects. He identified thirteen character qualities that he felt he needed to improve in his own life and he devised a method of focusing his attention on each of those qualities for one week at a time. Thus, during a years time, Mr. Franklin would go through his entire list four times. (Click here to read Benjamin Franklins Autobiography online for free.) From Benjamin Franklins plan we learn the value of focusing our attention on one character quality at a time. During that time we should seek to understand as much as possible about the character quality what it really is, how it has been illustrated in positive and negative ways in history, how it can be applied to our own life situations. We should also attempt to live our lives as if we fully possessed the character quality upon which we are focusing. We should be aware of how the character quality (or the lack of it) is demonstrated in the lives of those around us and evaluate the results and consequences we see in their lives. What Should We Do? Each of us can, as Benjamin Franklin did, undertake to improve our own character. We can intentionally seek to build good character qualities into our lives and the lives of our family members. Like Benjamin Franklin, we can study one character quality at a time and apply what we learn in our lives. (One of the best ways to do that is to subscribe to the monthly character magazine published by Character First!) We can certainly demonstrate good character on the job and in our community and encourage others to do the same. We can recognize the vital importance of character to the success of our lives, our businesses, the organizations to which we belong, and to our country and world, and we can seek to influence the part of the world that we touch to become involved in developing better character.

Many resources are available to us. If we will use them, we can make a difference our own lives, in our families and communities,and, ultimately, in our world.

How to Implement A Character Training Program

Successful implementation of a character training program in your organization requires that you do three things. You must emphasize good character, require good character, and recognize good character within your organization. 1. Emphasize Good Character The goal is to establish a culture within the organization that encourages all employees to develop good character and make decisions based on good character. Train management in how to implement a character emphasis. Focusing on character requires a new paradigm. Managers will not automatically understand what you are trying to accomplish or how you plan to implement your character emphasis. Set a date when you will conduct training for your management and supervisory staff. Obtain good character emphasis materials. You will need a mechanism for focusing attention on character development. Experience has shown that it is best to focus on one character quality per month. Provide character bulletins, articles, etc., as ongoing resources for employees. Place posters, banners, etc., around the workplace to serve as reminders of the character quality during the month. Communicate what you are trying to accomplish to your employees. Emphasize the importance of character in your organization. Hold regular, scheduled, employee meetings to introduce and discuss the character quality that you will be focusing on during the coming month. 2. Require Good Character The goal is to enforce principle-based policies in establishing a culture within an organization that is built on character. Establish a principle-based policy manual that communicates the organizations standards to employees. Require character in new employees through the hiring process. When correction is necessary, correct employees based on the character deficiency that resulted in poor behavior. 3. Recognize Good Character The goal is to help employees reach their full potential by recognizing good character with praise. Praise is pointing out words, actions, and attitudes that demonstrate character qualities and explaining how they benefited you and the organization. Praise employees in the course of daily work. Recognize employees for character on their employment anniversaries at employee meetings. For more information and assistance in developing a character emphasis program for your organization, go to Character First!