Chapter 20. Character Counts

"Having character is much more important than being a character."

There is no more essential or defining aspect of a person than their character. From the moment you open your eyes each morning until they close again for sleep each night, your character is either complemented or compromised. Additionally, there is no higher praise we can give a person than to say that they have good character. But what does that really mean? What makes this quality so essential to achieving personal success and fulfillment? How can we place a call for greater cultivation of character in ourselves, our coworkers, our friends, and in our children, so that we live more satisfying lives?

Suppose for a moment that you were responsible for picking a principal for your child's school, an executive to run one of your companies, a pastor to lead your church, or a coach to teach your little leaguers. What one exceptional characteristic would this person absolutely have to possess? Would it be good looking, Ivy League education, athletic, good negotiator, sharp dresser, a creative mind . . . or would it be extraordinary character?

My guess is that solid character would head that list. When we have to relate to, work with, and depend upon someone, nothing is more important than personal ethical virtues like honor, reliability, trustworthiness, and kindness.

Everything we do and say ultimately arises from and reveals our character. In addition to a proper concern for improving our own ...

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