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What is Character?

Character is a collection of attributes or "characteristics" that describe you. You could say things like, "I have brown eyes" or "I'm double jointed in both elbows." but those are physical qualities that don't really help you find your way in life. You can't use those traits to find other like-minded people to help you accomplish mutually goals. So for our purposes, we're defining "character" as the traits that make up our individual person-hood.

Traits like Timeliness or Cleanliness could both be considered part of your character. Imagine you are cast in a play--a theatrical production. You're cast as a homeless person. Do you think your character would be constantly checking their watch? How about combing their hair? Now imagine your an executive. Same questions. Would it potentially be in your character to be constantly checking their watch or combing their hair?

What other characteristics would you attribute to these characters?




Warm interpersonal skills





Honestly, both a homeless person and a person with an executive job could have any or all of these qualities. We definitely could make decisions based off of stereotypes, but none of these traits are dependent upon employment. I can't answer those questions without knowing more about each character.

While Cleanliness is not reserved for the executive, they likely have much easier access to a shower: inside their home. However, if a homeless person wants a shower badly enough, they will find one.

Both of these people may want to shower on a daily basis, but that does not mean they are doing it for the same reason. The homeless person may simply desire to feel physically clean. But it might be something bigger. They might want to shower because feeling clean gives them a sense of dignity. How do you put a price on Dignity? Even though it will be more difficult to find a shower--even though they run the risk of someone stealing their clothes and everything they own--for some people it's worth the risk. Because to them Cleanliness means their Dignity. And Dignity is more important to them than things.

Now how about the executive? I'm going to get personal here. I've worked in Corporate America for 10 years and I do not shower every day. I only shower 1-2 times per week. Why? Because showering takes too much time.

What? Seriously, it only takes like 10 or 15 minutes. Pretty true, but if you include shaving and time for drying off to get dressed, then the whole process seems to move somewhere closer to 20-25 minutes. And 25 minutes 7 times a week is nearly 3 hours. Perhaps I could be more efficient, but instead I choose to just be selective. 2 longer showers twice a week allows me to take 20 minute showers with the added shave and dry, dress time comes out to about an hour a week. This means I save nearly 2 hours a week--plus saving on the water bill. And--here's the key--I invest that time into doing something that is important and fulfilling to me.

Now, when I have an important meeting with a client or management, then I prioritize showering and shaving. However, most of the time I make a bigger impact on the world from behind a computer screen where my appearance has very little effect on the work I do.

You see, if comes down to value. A shower is the same action of letting water pour over your body. But the simple activity can mean very different things to different people. I would much rather use my time before work to write a blog to inspire, challenge, and empower people.

People talk about American Values or Family Values. It's hard to define what those values are for those groups. But when it comes down to you personally, you can define what has value for you. Start to explore your character and you will find that every personality trait you use to define yourself can be traced back to a value you hold.

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