Developing "Character"

Learning How to Stand Your Ground

Can we learn how to better stand our ground?

© iStockphoto/KarenMassier

Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones. – Phillip Brooks
When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends. – Japanese Proverb

Think about the last time you had to make a difficult decision, when you were forced to choose between the "easy" option and the "right" option.

Did you take the easy choice to avoid a confrontation, even though it conflicted with your views and beliefs? Or did you stand your ground, and make the right choice?

When we have to make a decision like this, the choices can often be clear, because our "heart" tells us what is right and what is wrong. So, why do we sometimes give in and not do the right thing? Can we learn how to stand our ground, or maintain our position? Or are some of us naturally better at standing our ground, while the rest of us don't have the "character" to make a stand?

In this article, we'll examine character. We'll look at how you can develop it, and how you can defend your character by standing your ground.

What is Character?

"Character" is a collective term for the qualities that you have, or don't have, that set you apart from other people. When we talk about someone "having character" in a positive way, these qualities could include traits such as courage, honesty, loyalty, and integrity. Our character helps us decide between what we think is right and what we think is wrong.

For example, a manager will show her character when she defends the actions of her team to her executive board. She knows her team is doing the right thing, so she continues to defend their actions and refuses to back down, despite harsh criticism and tremendous pressure.

Or, a CEO will show his character if he turns down a lucrative account because the prospective client uses what he believes is unacceptable labor practices in its off-shore manufacturing facilities.

Developing Character

We're not born with the qualities that make up our character. Character develops as we go through life and have experiences, and it's within our power to strengthen it if we want to.

Here are some ways you can develop character:

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