Monday mornings are special to all of us because it is always time to share our Win To Last thoughts to empower you to make great entry into the week, to put the right foot forward, and to take control of the few days ahead.

On our front burner today is the issue of character. A good character has an important place in all areas of your success: business, investment, career, education, relationships, etc. In the words of Arthur Friedman, “Men of genius are admired. Men of wealth are envied. Men of power are feared, but only men of character are trusted.” When you are fair and honest in your dealings with people, they will want to relate with you and they will want to do business with you.

Your character multiplies your capacity and increases your mental and physical energies. It is not surprising, therefore, that Booker T. Washington reasoned that “Character is power.” Your character not only multiplies your success, it also enables you enjoy long-term success.

Encarta defines character as “the set of qualities that makes somebody or something distinctive, especially somebody’s qualities of mind and feeling.” Ron Kurtus defines character as “a set of learned behavior traits that determine how a person will typically react in certain conditions.” He also believes that character is related to personality but differentiates between the two as follows: “character consists of learned behavior…personality is primarily inborn traits.”

Yes, character forms the way we respond to situations but we learnt those traits from our parents, friends, teachers, and through our experiences of what “rules” constitute the RIGHT WAY to behave. The world becomes tougher to live because of the increasing bad character of people including violence, crime, wars, discrimination, sharp practices in business, financial impropriety, fraud, etc. That’s why each of us should support and encourage good character beginning from each of us.

In specific terms these are the ways you can strengthen your character to multiply your success:

v  Be open to learning new positive and desirable things. Attitude produces habit, habit forms character and character makes the man. So when you have the attitude of taking in new ideas, you establish the habit of new knowledge and form the character of responding positively to situations in business, career, relationships, etc.

v  Accept responsibility for things you left undone. Passing the buck doesn’t strengthen character but taking responsibility does. Responsibility is the price of both maturity and greatness.

v  Exercise more self-discipline. Self-control is a very major component of good character. Note the areas you are not quite in control such as procrastination, lateness to meetings, delay of correspondence, missing deadlines, oversleep, being temperamental, unnecessary expenditures, etc, and decisively improve on all such areas. An ounce you gain in self-discipline in each area will culminate in tons of success in many areas of your life.

v  Keep doing more good and adding more value. These lines of wisdom by Booker T. Washington are very apt here: “No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is left long without proper reward.” The more value you add in your business or career, the more your character is strengthened and the more room you create for your success.

v  Request for help where necessary. Confucius said that “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” Real men and women don’t pretend that they know all. Matthew 7:7 records that “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Particularly in this Information Age, anyone who seeks help finds it, both online and offline. The more you seek help the more you find answers. That keeps strengthening you and multiplying your results.

v  Maintain high standards of honesty and fairness in all your dealings. Abraham Lincoln is perhaps till date the greatest American President. He was a man of great character; he demonstrated robust persistence, strong beliefs, and unflagging courage. He was also a man of uncompromising truth. Leonard Swett, a close friend of the former President wrote this about him, “He believed in the great laws of truth, the right discharge of duty, his accountability to God, the ultimate triumph of the right, and the overthrow of wrong.”

Honesty and fair dealings will keep bringing customers back, doubling or even tripling patronage, and multiplying profits.

v  Stick around people that appreciate your efforts. According to William James, “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” Charles Schwab, the steel magnate, also said that “The way to develop the best in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” Avoid the close company of those who habitually talk you down. The more you are appreciated and encouraged, the stronger you become and the more productive you are.