According to a recent article on the PsychCentral website, a study of schools in Hawaii has shown that the quality of education may be improved by a program to build character. Here’s a link to the article, entitled “Character Building Improves Quality of Education.”
A few days ago I had occasion to go into a local business. As I entered the building, a chorus of hellos rang out from the employees of the business. “Hello, welcome to _________!” “Hello, how are you?”
I know that the employees had been trained to welcome customers as they came in the door, that it was not just a spontaneous welcome meant especially for me, but it didn’t matter. I still felt welcomed. I felt important.
How does that relate to “character in business?”
Isn’t it true that a business takes on the character of the people who make it up?
One quality that helps to define who we are as persons, is joyfulness, which has been defined as “maintaining a good attitude even when faced with unpleasant circumstances.” Another quality is hospitality, which is cheerfully sharing food, shelter, or conversation to benefit others.”
The employees of the business mentioned above demonstrated both joyfulness and hospitality in their greetings to me as I came in the door, and it made me feel good and helped to produce a very pleasant experience with that business.
Businesses thrive on good will. The more “pleasant experiences” we can create in our businesses, the better off our businesses will be.
Have you ever been in a store and felt that you were being ignored by the employees? No one acknowledged your presence. Maybe, after a while, you just left. It certainly was not a “pleasant experience.”
Have you ever dealt with a checkout person who seemed to have his/her mind on something else? Did you feel slighted? Did it make you want to come back to that business again? No, more likely the employee’s lack of attentiveness made you feel that you would prefer to just avoid that business in the future.
A business is known by the character of its people.
For information on how to help your employees develop and demonstrate the character qualities you would like to see in your business, go to How to Implement a Character Development Program.
By Scott Spjut
There is a direct relationship between character and success, in that you cannot have one without the other. In fact, your success is defined by your character.
We live in a society today where success has become an arbitrary accomplishment. Any online personality with enough followers on Twitter, any entrepreneur who reaches a million dollars in sales, or any politician not caught with his pants around his ankles is considered successful. In reality, there should be (and for many people, continues to be) a higher standard of success.
It’s almost reflexive to equate success with having money. Being able to afford the luxuries of life may seem like the ultimate achievement, but take a minute to think about what people or companies you consider the most successful. Of all people you’ve ever met, seen, or read about on the news, who would you say is the most successful? And all the companies and business you’ve ever visited or heard about, which would you say are the most successful?
Keeping that person or company in mind, take all their money away. Imagine them without the billion-dollar quarterly profits or personal jets. They still provide the same product or service, but their value doesn’t rival the GDP of most countries.
Would you still consider them successful? If you do, then there has to be something other than their financial accomplishments which dictates whether or not they’re successful. There must be other qualities within that person or within that company which makes them a success – both to you and to others.
That other quality isn’t some sort of mysterious X factor or unattainable luck of the draw; that higher standard of success is character.
Let’s not kid ourselves; there is a certain amount of natural ability involved. The better of two equally-dedicated athletes will likely be decided by their innate talents. But 19th century Irish historian William Edward Hartpole Lecky once said, “One of the most important lessons that experience teaches is that, on the whole, success depends more upon character than upon either intellect or fortune.”
The thing that will best dictate you future success is your character. The definition of character is perhaps left to that now-famous phrase uttered by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart when he said, “I know it when I see it,” but some good indicators may be your level of customer service, your positive influence in the local community, the overall morale of your employees, or the application of your company’s mission statement or value statement (assuming you have a good statement in place).
There are other ways to measure character – and, therefore, success – but regardless of what qualities you attach to success, you will only truly succeed if you character succeeds as well.
Scott Spjut is a writer and editor who has been featured in various magazines, newspapers and websites, including Newsweek, the Washington Post, CBS News and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. With a B.A. in Communications, he continues to write on a wealth of topics – politics, health and fitness, business, marketing and more. Scott currently works with Professional Marketing International helping people achieve success.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Scott_Spjut
by Becky Roach
“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me and I may not like you. Ignore me and I may not forgive you. Encourage me and I may not forget you.” – William Arthur Ward
The power of our words is extraordinary. I am realizing this more and more as I get older!
If I flatter someone with my words, I am usually thinking of something I hope to get from them, just to be honest about it. What I say may be true, but my motive is usually my own gain and not theirs. Because of this, if someone flatters me I often wonder What they want from me. Flattery is certainly not a beneficial use of words.
Criticism can be helpful, but only if the person receiving it is open to it. If criticism comes at us as a reaction to our words or actions and we don’t know the person really cares about us, we usually become angry and defensive. We do not benefit from it because we feel that the person just does not understand us or they don’t understand our situation. On the other hand, if someone who truly cares about us feels that we need to know something negative about ourselves, they will come to us in a spirit that says, “I see this problem and I want to spare you trouble and pain, so can I please tell yo this?” When that is the case, we can take it well because we believe they genuinely have our welfare at heart. Criticism truly can be either very constructive or very destructive depending on the person’s motive and method of giving it.
When we ignore someone, we are saying that they do not matter to us at all. I can see why William Arthur Ward would say they will not forgive us, because most people would rather be disliked than be ignored! We definitely need to feel that we matter to people. Because this is true, we also need to make other people feel that they matter to us. People do matter! Everyone’s life is of infinite value. There is no-one who does not matter! No, no-one!
I am not naturally a giver of encouragement. I naturally am a critic. I see the bad, the wrong and the worst in everything and everyone! So, I really need help in this area. It takes a conscious effort for me to encourage someone, or even to encourage myself! But, as this quote so wisely says, when we speak words of encouragement, people may not ever forget us. We never know how deep in despair someone may be and a word hope and encouragement may be what keeps them going. It may even be what keeps them alive!
Let us purpose today to be not the one who flatters, criticizes, or ignores, but the one who encourages. I think one of the greatest epitaphs that could be written, when we are gone from this world, would be for someone to say “They encouraged me. They gave me the strength to keep going.” Or, “Their words pointed me to the eternal truth and I will never be the same because of them.”
When we encourage someone else, we cannot help but be encouraged ourselves.
By Becky Roach
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln
I once heard a sermon entitiled “The Future Is Now.” I remember the title because I found it so intriguing. I wish I had paid much more heed to the truth of that message! How wise was that preacher, and how wise Abraham Lincoln when he made the above statement.
If a businessman wants his business to be successful, he must do everyday the things that are necessary for it to prosper. Daily discipline is not an option. I, for one, have learned that lesson the hard way in some areas of life. It is so easy to put things off and think that we will do better tomorrow.
It is usually little things, or at least what seem to be little things, that cause the problem. Things such as “I know I should diet and exercise, and I’m going to, but one more day won’t hurt. I’ll begin tomorrow.” But the future is now and before we know it we are twenty pounds overweight and it is harder than ever to start dieting. We make our lives so much harder because we think we can wait until tomorrow.
If we want to save money for a rainy day, or for old age, or for our children’s college, we must begin now. We had better begin to save when we are quite young or it will likely never happen. We will get to be middle aged and suddenly realize that we have waited too long. Our children are ready for college and we don’t have the money and it is too late. Time and opportunities slip by so quickly. We must discipline ourselves to save, no matter how great the sacrifice, for it will be worth it. When “tomorrow” comes, we will be glad if we have lived responsibly each day.
If you want successful and fulfilling marriage and family relationships, again you must discipline yourself to fulfill daily responsibilities that will develop those relationships. Husbands or wives who spend all of their time at work or indulging in hobbies or other kinds of personal pursuits and neglecting each other and/or their children, will be disappointed, disillusioned, frustrated, and, perhaps, even despairing when they realize their marriage has failed and their children are grown and gone and they have completely missed the joy they wanted because they thought somehow they would “get around” to devoting time to their spouse and children but they never did and it is forever too late.
We have responsibilities (that are also privileges) that must be carried out every single day and to put them off until some tomorrow brings us great sorrow. However, when we discipline ourselves to perform these responsibilities diligently our days and our futures can be joyful and meaningful beyond our imaginations.
Success and happiness tomorrow are determined by what we think, say, and, most of all, do each and every day. The future is now.
written by Becky Roach
“I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it isi my chief duty and joy to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.” – Helen Keller
Millions of housewives and mothers can relate to this quote! Washing dishes, running the vacuum, changing diapers, driving kids to endless practices, cooking meals and cleaning bathrooms certainly do not sound or feel great and noble! But, if they are done with an attitude of joy and excellence, then the doer can be assured there is a greatness and nobility in investing in the lives of family members’ well being and in being an example of diligence and faithfulness and other virtues.
The tasks a person does may not be great and noble, but the person’s character takes on greatness and nobleness through how the tasks are done. And as that person’s character is observed and emulated, future generations are affected in ways that determine their character. So, the way we do the humble tasks, the commonplace, everyday chores in life, becomes extremely important.
The Bible says, “Do your work heartily as unto the Lord and not men, for it is the Lord Christ whom you serve and from Him you will receive the reward of the inheritance.”
So, it is not just the great and noble that will be rewarded! Even the most humble task done heartily as for the Lord is promised a reward. An eternal reward. Wow! Now, that is exciting!
Would you agree with me that it is good to be safe on the job? Of course you would! No one wants to be injured…on the job, or anywhere else for that matter. So, why isn’t every work place a safe place to work?
Maybe it’s because we don’t have enough safety rules. “But,” you say, “we have lots of safety rules.” Well, maybe we don’t have the right rules. If we have all of the right rules, no one will get hurt, right? But, wait a minute… Is everyone always following all of the rules we already have? No? But, why not?
I guess maybe we have enough of the right rules, but we just don’t enforce them well enough. We need to enforce our safety rules more strictly. Oh, but why should we have to be concerned about that? Why should we have to enforce rules at all? No one wants to be injured? Why wouldn’t everyone just follow the rules? Why do they have to be enforce?
Finally, we are coming to the crux of the problem. Rules just aren’t the key to good safety, are they? Rules alone will not prevent accidents. Rules can be posted…and talked about…even memorized, but it’s what you do with the rules that will make all the difference.
Its not that rules are not important. They are important! It’s just that we don’t always follow the rules, even if we know that they are good rules and even if we are in agreement with the end result that the rules are intended to produce. If we did, there would be no need for policemen to give tickets for traffic violations. We just wouldn’t go faster than the speed limit.
Yes rules are important. We need them to help create safe working areas. If we would just follow them we could prevent many accidents and injuries. But we don’t follow them. So we have to ask, why don’t we follow the rules if they are good and important and will keep us from being injured?
The answer to this question involves an important topic that we have not considered yet. The reason we don’t follow the rules about safety is that our attitude toward the safety rules is not good. Really, the problem is our attitude toward the whole topic of safety.
It is true that no one wants to get hurt, but often we don’t really think it could happen to us. We don’t want an eye injury, but those safety glasses are uncomfortable and its hard to see with them because they get fogged up. “And, besides,” we may say, “what’s the big deal. I’m being careful. Nothing is going to happen to my eyes.” But, then it does.
Yes, our attitude toward safety is just as important… maybe even more important… than the rules.
So, let’s think for a minute about attitudes. What are attitudes? What kind of attitudes do we want to have? And, how does one go about changing his attitudes, anyway?
Someone has defined attitudes as habits of thought. The way we habitually think about something is our attitude toward it. We may not be consciously thinking all the time about safety, for example, but what we think when we do think about it will form our safety attitude.
What do we want our attitudes toward safety to be?
Well, first let’s say what we don’t want them to be. We don’t want to think that we don’t have to be concerned about safety because we have done the same job before a thousand times. Accidents always happen when we least expect them. After all, if we thought an accident was about to happen, we would do something different to prevent it, right? So, we want to form the habit of thinking that it is always important to be concerned about safety.
We don’t want to think that accidents just happen to other people. We must realize that we are “the other guy!” Accidents happen to people who do things in an unsafe manner, or those who use unsafe equipment, or those who are around someone else who thinks that safety is not important. We want to form the habit of thinking that we must do the right thing in order to protect ourselves and those around us.
We definitely do not want to think that we have the ability to quickly react to dangerous situations as they arise. We just do not react that fast! Accidents happen very very quickly. We didn’t know we were going to fall, we just found ourself on the floor. We didn’t mean to have our finger under the blade of that machine…it just happened so quickly we didn’t have time to react. We want to form the habit of thinking ahead so that we can be sure we are working safely at all times, avoiding dangerous situations if at all possible.
So, how does one go about changing his attitudes?
Since attitudes are habits of thinking, the question really is how to change habits. Habits are formed by repitition. The more we do something, the more likely it is that we will do the same thing again the next time a similar situation arises. We get used to doing things in a particular way and we tend to continue doing them that way. If we want to change a habit, we have to deliberately choose to do things in a way that is different from the way we usually do them. Habits of thought, attitudes, are the same way. If we want to develop good attitudes toward safety, we must deliberately choose to think and respond to situations in a way that is consistent with good safety. Maybe we will have to wear safety glasses even if they are uncomfortable and inconvenient because we know there is a good reason for doing so. We choose what we think, and we must choose the right thoughts every time until it becomes a habit. Then we will have developed a “good attitude” toward that aspect of safety.
Safety rules are never going to be good enough unless we approach them with the attitude that they are important not because they are rules, but because they are right.
None of us want to be injured, and none of us wants to cause someone else to be injured, so lets work together to form the attitudes, the habits of thought about safety, that will keep us all safe and injury free.
Injuries, whether on the job or not, are certainly a serious problem to the person injured.
Employee injuries on the job are a major problem for many businesses. Often they are more of a problem than the business owners realize.
There are several reasons for this.
- They have a direct effect on the cost or worker’s compensation insurance. Every employee injury is factored into a formula the calculate a “mod factor” for an employer. The higher the “mod” the higher the insurance premium. The “mod” factor is based on employee injury experience for a three year period, so every claim can cause the premium to be higher for three years.
- Replacing an employee is expensive. If an employee is injured seriously enough to have to miss work for an extended time, the employer has the problem, and expense, of replacing the employee. A lot of time and expense is involved in finding, interviewing, and training a new employee.
- Workplace injuries have a negative affect on employee morale. People don’t like to work in places where they don’t feel safe.
- Employee injuries lead to lower productivity. Think of the time other employees spend talking about what happened and why it happened. All of that time in unproductive time.
- An injury to a key employee can have a negative impact on customer satisfaction. When an employee who is important in the production process is injured, his work has to be done by someone else. Usually, the someone else is not as well qualified and may not do as good work. Quality may suffer. It may also take them longer, so a job may not be finished on time. Lower quality and timeliness can even lead to loss of customers.
- There are other cost factors that often are not considered when calculating the total cost of an on-the-job injury. Costs like the time for filling out forms, time for someone to take the injured employee to the doctor, time spent in phone calls with the insurance company, etc. It has been estimated that the true cost of an accident can be as much as ten times the visible cost!
The bottom line is that it is vitally important to businesses to have viable safety programs to protect employees from on-the-job injuries.
And there’ the rub.
Many companies have safety programs that should be good, but for some reason employees still get hurt. They shouldn’t – and they wouldn’t if the safety program worked like it is supposed to work. But it doesn’t.
For example, the safety program says that the employees should wear protective eyewear. The employer provides safety glasses, but some of the employees don’t wear their safety glasses unless someone is watching.
Or, maybe, the safety program requires guards at the point of operation for machines that can be dangerous. However, sometimes the guards are removed when maintenance is done on the machine, and they just never get replaced – until someone gets hurt using the machine.
There are a thousand reasons why a “good” safety program may not be effective. And not always, but usually, when you get right down to the real underlying reason they are not effective, you will find that the problem is the people, not the program. Usually, it boils down to a problem of character!
What does that mean? Am I saying that the people are not “good” people so they get hurt?
No, what I mean is that you will usually find a combination of character qualities that would have to be strengthened for the safety program to really work effectively.
For example, workplace accidents are often attributed to “carelessness” on the part of the injured imployee. Usually, “carelessness” is a word used to described things like “lack of alertness”, “lack of attentiveness”, “lack of patience”, etc., all of which are character qualities.
If you are an employer, and you really want your safety program to be effective, the best thing you can do is to work with your employees to strengthen the character qualities that lead to success.
For information on how to strengthen character qualities and improve the effectiveness of your safety program, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org .
“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein
This has to do with what our focus is on. If we focus on becoming “successful,” our human weaknesses may lead us to do things that seem expedient at the time, but, in the long run, may lead to failure, both in results and in character. It is a temptation to step on other people going up the “ladder of success.”
However, if our focus is on becoming a person of value, then we will almost surely develop a high quality of character and that will lead to success.
What are the qualities of a person of value?
First, a person ov value is reliable and dependable. You know they can be counted on. You know they will keep their word. If they say they will do something, thn you know they will.
Second, a person of value usually is one who has worked to develop at least one skill and sometimes many that are useful and they are available to use those skills to help others. A family we know comes to mind, who have raised several sons and taught them many useful, practical skills. This has developed solid character and also success in making a good income using those skills. They are men of characte and men of value.
Third, a person of value is others centered. A person focused on just being a “success” is more likely to be self-centered.
The person of value, values others! And, when we know someone values us, we appreciated them and are happy when they become successful.
So, focusing on becoming a person of value means focusing on developing skills that will enable us to be useful in meeting the needs of others and it it means developing character qualities that are worthy of emulation, like dependability, trustworthiness, and caring about others more than ourselves, which is unselfishness.
“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”- Sam Ewing
I don’t know who Sam Ewing is or anything about him, but I love this quote! It is so true! I have seen it lived out many times, even in my own life.
Just let a project be announced at church or a club. Some people will immediately get on the band wagon and go to work with determination and enthusiasm. They recognize the need and step up to meet it. I want to be the type of person with the character that puts others first and delights in being a helper. They desire to make a positive difference, and they do!
Then there are those who turn up their noses. For some reason, they are prideful and think work is beneath them. They act like they think they are supposed to be served, not to serve. This person discourages others and, well, makes people not want to be around them. I think of Aunt Polly in Pollyanna. She wanted anything that she was involved in to be her idea and she had to be in charge! Everyone had to cater to her! And, when anybody dared to stand up to her, they were put in their place very quickly. Pride in any person produces ugliness!
Laziness characterizes the third type of person. They don’t want to do anything for themselves or anyone else. What is the root of that? Selfishness, I think. They want everyone to serve them. They care for nothing and no one but themselves.
This type of character, or lack of character, wrecks lives, marriages, families, and whole societies. And our society is full of it. What is the cure? Well, the Bible says if someone refuses to work, he should not eat. I think that would solve that problem very quickly.
Our character certainly shows itself in our actions. May we all strive to overcome pride, selfishness and laziness which we are all prone to have, to one degree or another.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared , ambitions inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
When I think of people I admire, and desire to be like, they are people who have not had an easy life. They have experienced a great deal of trial and suffering. Helen Keller is a prime example of this. Her parents started off catering to her every whim. How they must have pitied her, being deaf, blind and unable to speak. But soon they realized she must be trained and disciplined or she would destroy herself and their family. So, they sought a teacher and found Annie Sullivan.
Both Annie and Helen went through many trials and much suffering in order to reach the goal of teaching Helen to read, write, and, eventually, to speak. But Helen went on to become a great woman of achievement and Character, admired by all who knew her. It was the trials and suffering that produced the strength of character in both the teacher and the pupil. Of course, many people go through trials and suffering and just give up in despair and never achieve anything. They may just become a burden to their friends and family. so, it is the response we make to the trials and suffering that makes the difference.
When Helen Keller realized she could learn to read, write and speak, she was determined to do so, no matter how hard she had to work.
Her story of how she and her teacher persevered and all tht Helen achieved has been and is for all time an inspiration to everyone. If someone with her challenges can achieve greatness, then anyone can. Anyone, that is, willing to work long and hard and not give up no matter how difficult the obstacles may seem.
I love this quote and the story of Helen Keller because it shows how trials and suffering are like stepping stones to greatness. They are absolutely necessary and are like exercise for the soul.
What Is “Character”?
One dictionary defines “Character” as “The qualities built into an individual’s life that determine his or her response, regardless of circumstances.” It is significant that these character qualities are “built” – they don’t just happen to be there. It is true that our character develops as we face and respond to situations in life, but if we want to develop character qualities that lead to success in life it is important that we “build” them on purpose.
Keys to Building Character
There are three keys to building character. The first key to building character is to emphasize the character quality we want to build. We should focus on it and learn about it. If we are building the character quality of patience, for example, we should try to understand what patience really is and study examples of how it works out in real life situations. We can read stories of people whose lives demonstrated the character quality of patience, or whatever character quality we are building. We can give ourselves reminders to apply the character quality to situations as they arise in our daily life. The more we emphasize and think about the character quality we are building, the more it will show up as a part of our life.
The second key to building character is to require that it be demonstrated. We do that by setting high standards for the character quality and not accepting bad behavior. We can evaluate ourselves and our attitudes and actions. Did we demonstrate the character qualities we are building with our words and attitudes and actions? What could we have done differently that would have demonstrated that we are building character?
The third key to building character is to recognize people when they demonstrate good character qualities. All of us like to be recognized and praised. When we praise people for demonstrating good character, it reinforces the character quality in them and in anyone else who is listening. We can watch for opportunities to recognize and praise people for building character.
People are not like machines. Building character requires that we use the right tools. The tools, the keys to building character, are emphasizing, requiring, and recognizing the character qualities we are building.