The Meaning of Character

What Is Character?

What Abraham Lincoln Said About Character…

Abraham Lincoln said, “Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree.” Our character is much more than 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.

(Learn more about Abraham Lincoln)

The Dictionary Definitions of “Character”  

One dictionary defines character as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Another says it is “the complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person.” In still another dictionary, character is said to be “the stable and distinctive qualities built into an individual’s life which determine his or her response regardless of circumstances.

How Character Determines Success In Life

Our Character Is What Determines How We Respond to the Situations and Circumstances of Life

The dictionary definitions said character is a “complex of mental and ethical traits“, that those traits, or qualities, are “distinctive to an individual” and that they are “built into an individual’s life.” It is those character qualities, those character traits, that determine a person’s 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 tends to be characterized by deceptiveness. Someone who has the character trait of alertness will be more likely to be a better, safer, driver than a person who does not see or recognize the potential dangers around him (carelessness). A person with the character quality of tolerance will be more accepting of others – less prejudiced.

Success or failure in any situation or endeavor depends, more than anything else, on how we respond to events and circumstances.  It follows that it is our character that determines our success.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that “good” people will always experience more “success” than “bad” people.  There are, however, some character traits that tend to lead to “success” and others that tend to produce “failure.”  The question is, “What are the “good” character qualities, and what are “bad” qualities?

Next… Good Character and Bad Character

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27 Responses

  1. jim says:

    I’ve never had a good reputatuon growing uo and find it very, very difficult in my mid forties. My reactions to failures is much more severe and I mentaly attack myself when I fail, which is happening more frequently. I overreact I think, in part from PTSD from my military service. Any advice to helping this?

    • Laury says:

      Look for Jesus! He will overwhelm you with love and the peace you need. He will teach you that the labels the world has put on you don’t define you AT ALL!

    • Bill says:

      Jim, first, I would like to thank you for your service. I went through something similar and had to learn how to rethink things. They are called “stuck points.” Our time in the service, we are trained that if we make mistakes, someone may be injured or worse. With that thought process ingrained into us, we come to think of any mistake as the end all to end all. I suggest you seek professional assistance. I went through a 12 week cognitive behavioral therapy session and although weeks 3 and 4 felt like I was going through all the bad times again, I stuck with it and was able to “rewire” my thought process. It has truly helped me in my family life and professional life. I pray that it helps you too.

  2. kimberly Allentown says:

    Your cHaracter is the word that you live by .

  3. appiah thomas says:

    character is beautiful and real

  4. ravi dev meena says:

    If you lose character ,you lose success fandamental

  5. Effiong Etim says:

    character is our personality.secretly or physically people will see and know if it is good or bad.and one cannot say his or her own is good or bad.untill another do.unless he/she has wisdom to find out him/herself

  6. brighton dzakandwa says:

    absolutely real

  7. daria says:

    this does not maake sence at all how is this about what is charactor

  8. mohamed says:

    character is what made you very popular in positive and negative way

  9. abhi says:

    I think that good character is beautiful

  10. my pari says:

    it’s too much of feelings

  11. my pari says:

    i like it too much because i have character

  12. Herbert Otim says:

    l like it

  13. JUNEX JACKSON says:

    Character is what human being does in the sense that can be accepted or not accepted and character do change according to the environment including the influences of peer groups.

  14. daniel eyo says:

    Beauty without good character is stupidity but beautiful is better than good character

  15. stephen adeyemo says:

    very good quotations capable of building one’s personality traits.

  16. Aijaz says:

    Character qualities of humans are natural and inborn, very much with their natural health, but we have a choice to preserve their natural status and integrity or shape them to our need and greed regard or regardless of right or wrong. If we speak truth regardless of the harm that may get us into, or if we dont speak a lie though we loose a lot on account of doing so determines my righteousness, doing the other way around identifies a greedy, evil character. To do it in anyway i would want to is my choice, what stops me doing this is my sense of being true, rationale to myself and being aware who we are, gets the responsibility of self-respect.

  17. Larry says:

    Here’s a link to a good article about the importance of good moral character in the workplace.

    The Importance of Good Moral Character In The Workplace

  18. steven says:

    character is like a light that will reflect no matter the gloomy covering in the sky,and is also like a smoke ,that no matter how you cover it,it will surface one day,and it is not the output that will determine the input,but the input will certainlly determine the output

  19. Maqsood-ul-Rahaman Shar Balouch says:

    Every people have different character . its up to his or her behaviour and attitude .Butt the best symbol of the best character that someone successful in life this the best symbol of character . willium shakespare said if wealth is lost nothing , is lost . if health is lost something is lost . if character is lost every thing lost .

  20. Mowla maxamed cabdi says:

    beatiful is the stile structure of the body .
    Beatifull is something that peoples likes when they want to rather for.
    For instance when you want to marry you will find for many characteristics that own for you like beatifull so beatifull also part of choosing when you want to marriage . But beatifull is better than good character .

  21. Mowla maxamed cabdi says:

    Character is better than beautiful because aperson who has good character may be anything and talking to any person even also can inter for the society while the beutifull is vice versa .

  22. Larry says:

    The character that is “inborn” is the part of us that is in rebellion to God. That “inborn” character can be changed only through “new birth” – i.e., salvation through Jesus Christ. We are then given a new nature. However, character qualities such as diligence, alertness, truthfulness, etc., are not “inborn” in the sense that they cannot be changed. The choices a person makes on a moment by moment basis are what determines how his/her character will develop. I am not stuck with being a lazy person, for example. Whether I will be lazy or diligent is not an inborn quality that I can do nothing about. My character is developed through my choices.

  23. Ome Hygienus Ejike says:

    Character is personal and inborn, though it may be good or bad. It difers from one person to the other. But, God’s character is that all people might be saved through Jesus Christ.

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