The Definition of “Good Character”

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey talks about the Character Ethic versus the Personality Ethic.

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Basically, the personality ethic is a superficial approach to self-development. It focuses on tactics and quick-fixes to problems. On the other hand, the character ethic is about your core substance.

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Put another way, focusing on tactics and quick-fixes is like growing a large plant with weak roots. Eventually, the plant will break. For example, when a person quickly gets wealth and fame but lacks character, that person can become arrogant and develop bad habits, which then lead to a big fall. Developing character takes time and effort, but the result is a strong foundation for the plant.

We all want to be good people, and we want to be around good people. But by what criteria can you judge someone’s character? I found a thorough answer worth sharing from this speech. According to ancient Chinese culture, there are 12 virtues. When a person practices any of these virtues, they are showing “good character”.

Now that you know what it means to have “good character”, here are a couple questions to consider:

  • Who comes to mind when you think of someone with “good character”? Now get specific on why they have good character by using the 12 virtues.
  • Consider which virtues you want to work on to strengthen your character.

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Passionate about self-cultivation, happiness, and sharing wisdom.

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Alex Chen

Passionate about self-cultivation, happiness, and sharing wisdom.