The Elements of Good Character

When others hear your name or think about you, what do they think? Does the thought of you evoke a smile, respect or admiration? Or, does your name cause people to recoil in bitterness, anger or disregard? The true measure of the person is the manner in which he or she conducts his or herself and treats others. Good manners demonstrate good character. Let’s take a look at some of the basic tenets of good character and how they each serve toward the greater whole of who we should strive to become.

Be real. It is far easier to be ourselves than it is to be someone we are not. Everyone can see through a phony. Phonies only fool themselves. If we have a big ego, are selfish and rude- no one will respect us; much less like us. Humility is the flower of humanity. The more humble we are, the more respect we show toward others, the higher we will be regarded by those around us. Bragging, having a high opinion of ourselves, taking ourselves too seriously and being overbearing will only serve to reduce our social standing. Just be yourself. That means being comfortable in your own skin. It means overcoming insecurities and forgiving yourself for things you may have done in your past; things you may have said to others.

Be of your word. There is little we can control in this world, but the one thing we have complete control of is our word. Our word is everything in life. When we give someone our word, we are putting forth the full faith and reputation of who we are and portend to be. If we have developed a reputation for keeping our word, we have established one of the most powerful keys to trust. Inevitably, this will lead toward success. However, if we do not keep our word and prove that it is worthless, we will never regain the trust of those who put their faith and trust in what we say or do.

Be on time. When we make a commitment to others to be somewhere, to show up or to accomplish a given task at a certain time, we must expect that they rely upon our commitment to do as we say. If we want people to trust us; if we want a reputation for reliability- we must always be on time for any personal or social commitment. Do we not expect the same of others? Do we not rely upon the commitment of another when he says he will be there- or do something?

Return phone calls. If someone calls you when you are not available, you should always return a phone call within 24 hours under normal circumstances. Being away, being ill or any other legitimate reason is acceptable. However, in the regular course of work and life, always return a phone call. This demonstrates respect. After all, if you phoned someone and they did not return your phone call- would you feel they were showing respect to you? If you fail to return phone calls- people will neither trust you nor wish to do business with you. Just as in being of your word and being on time, returning phone calls is another important aspect of demonstrating respect for others and showing ourselves to be of the highest character.

These are just a few of the qualities a person of good character should possess. Each is built upon a foundation of respect. When you demonstrate respect toward others, they will reflect the same respect back to you.