Note: Make sure that you read the article about the Difference Between Character and Personality, and also make sure you check the Definitive Guide to Develop a Charming Personality.
Character is what you’re really made of, it’s who you really are deep behind all the fancy “personality” traits that we all want to develop.
It can make or break you!
Because based on character you decide whether you’re going to face your problem or just numb the pain, whether you’re going to do the right thing or just run away.
It’s a combination of your beliefs, perceptions, morals and ideas. And it goes way beyond your physical appearance or your charm.
You can’t fake it, period!!
Personality can be faked, manipulated or even played as a role, but not character.
Character is built, or a better word: character is earned.
It’s about courage, Integrity, Kindness, mental toughness, holding your ground when things get tough, trust and many qualities that we need in order to become better.
As the old saying that success is something that you attract by the kind of the person that you become.
And I believe that you and I agree that being the kind of person that attracts/deserves success means being disciplined, building trust by becoming reliable, pushing through pain, not giving up and having faith.
For sure it doesn’t mean manipulating your way to the top, numbing pain, being dependent on someone else to get the job done, that’s a weak character that we all need to walk away from.
And of course there’s a moral side in building character, we’ll go through all that in a minute.
In this guide, we’re going to put together the blocks for a solid character that you’re going to be proud of one day.
For sure building character isn’t a goal or a destination, rather it’s a an on-going process that will only stop on the day you die.
Now before we start, I wouldn’t call this a definitive guide unless after you read it, you don’t feel the need to look anywhere else.
And because I don’t claim that I have enough all the knowledge in the world, I’ve included all the resources that I personally used and other resources that are useful too.
Sounds good ? 🙂
Let’s get started …
The Areas of Building A Solid Character
I believe there are “Areas” or “phases” that we all need to go through in order to build that solid character we’re after.
Think of your character as a big building, a castle if you would, and those “Areas” are the essential blocks that build the base of the building, without them you won’t be able to build anything.
So it’s a great idea to make sure those blocks are in their right place before we start building our fancy castle.
Let’s take a look at these areas that we need in order to build things up:
- Taking Full Responsibility.
- Pain/Discomfort Builds Up The Character.
- Break Your Bad Habits.
- Don’t Concern Yourself With People’s Opinions.
- Making Mistakes The Right Way.
- Giving is The Fuel For Your Soul.
After each one of those areas you’re going to find useful resources, make sure to check them out to sharpen your knowledge even more.
Let dive in …
1. Accepting Full Responsibility
This is the most important step, as Jim Rohn says: the day you accept full responsibility of your life is the day that you’ve jumped into maturity.
Taking full responsibility means:
You realize every action you take will result in consequences, and you have to deal with them
You don’t blame the external situations, you don’t blame your parents and you don’t blame the society around you.
Even if you’re in a situation where it wasn’t your fault, you don’t play that victim role, you don’t point fingers and sit there waiting for someone else to sort things out.
Because you know that blaming and assuming that it’s not your responsibility to fix things is not a smart plan at all.
It won’t work!!
That’s proven through out history and many success stories, nothing will change unless you first change.
And the first step to change is to take responsibility of your own life, to know that it’s you, and only you, who can start the process of change.
Not your parents, not your brother, not your teacher, not me and not even a life coach or a therapist!!
If you refuse to take responsibility of your life, no force on earth can help you out, even the best life coach out there, and even the wisest person out there.
In fact, without this trait, no matter how much you read about self-development, you won’t get anywhere, because you’re waiting for an external power to come and fix your life for you.
Which will never happen! you must accept full responsibility of where you are and where you want to be.
One of the things that prevent you from doing that is being powerless, not only the victim mentality, but also feeling like you don’t actually have the power/resources to change your situation.
In other words, feeling of helplessness.
Which is just a limiting belief, because no one is powerless unless he/she chooses to.
If you were given this life in the first place, then you were given the strength to live it, and that makes you responsible for whatever actions you take (and for creating whatever result you’re after).
- Taking Responsibility for Your Life
- No Body is Coming To Save You!
- How to Break Out of a Victim Mentality: 7 Powerful Tips
- 7 Timeless Thoughts on Taking Responsibility for Your Life
- You Work Too Damn Hard To Make Excuses
2. Enduring Pain Builds Up Your Character
Pain is what you really need in order to build up your character, because if you can handle discomfort, if you can handle pain, then you have a unique advantage.
Life isn’t a walk in the park and shit happens, you can’t control how things work, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring you, and that’s paralyzing.
Add to that the fact that pain is what makes people procrastinate (they want to avoid it), pain is what prevent people from being disciplined (they want to avoid it), and pain is what makes people develop addictions/bad habits (they want to numb it).
We all face pain, down times and just tough times where everything goes wrong, no body is an exception here.
Read any successful person story, any inspiring person, and you will find that pain was there, maybe more pain than you and I have experienced, but they were able to stand their ground and push through it.
And I personally started to believe that the quality of your life and the results that you get are an indicator of how well you deal with pain and discomfort.
Someone hates being disciplined and procrastinate, he escapes the pain for a while, but eventually he doesn’t go much in life.
On the other hand someones else also hates being disciplined but do it any way, endure this pain for a while to eventually get the results that he’s after.
Someone hates his life and that pain drives him to kill himself, other person hates his life but use that pain as a drive to change things.
Also someone who lost a loved-one, he loses his mind and never heal, other person have some faith, be strong and heal much more faster.
See I don’t claim that I have the most painful past or that I’m going through the most tragic situations right now, it’s just that pain is there for everybody, in different ways, but it’s there.
Your pain, my pain maybe differ from each other on the surface, but deep inside it’s the same.
And let me tell you something, if the burden was put on your shoulders, then you already have the strength to carry it, all you have to do is to dig deep within and figure out that hidden strength inside of us.
So, handling pain (fear, rejection, disappointment, frustration, grief, sadness, stress …etc) the right way, which is standing your ground and learn the lesson, is the best way to build a character that will not break easily.
- The Truth About Uncomfortable Emotions and the Comfort Zone
- Discomfort Zone: How to Master the Universe
- What to do when life gets really tough
- 7 Practical Strategies to Overcome Emotional Pain
- Why Fear of Discomfort Might Be Ruining Your Life
- Happiness DOESN’T Equal Comfort (Video)
3. Break Your Bad Habits/Addictions
Now you already know that pain is your best mentor if you want to develop your character, but do you know how to actually begin facing it?
One of the best ways to do that is to pick up a bad habit that you have (maybe even an addiction) and start eliminating it.
Chances are you’re going to suffer a little bit (maybe a lot!) during the process.
Because bad habits are there to help you numb/escape the pain for a while, in an unhealthy ways most of the time, and you’re taking that from yourself.
Sure you’ve heard that you need to replace it with a good one, and that’s true, but it’s easier said than done.
Because your mind already has something great to satisfy its needs, why change? that’s the struggle that you need to go through.
You need to convince your mind that you bad habit is wrong for you, and at the same time starting doing some good habits which can replace the evil bad ones.
Theoretically this is pretty easy! but when we apply this, it’s like a test for your strength and who you really are.
Because if we looked closer, many of our bad habits aren’t just “bad habits”, they control us, or to put in a painful way: we’re slaves of our bad habits!
Don’t believe me?
Pick your number one bad habit, it could be Facebook, Reddit, watching porn, drinking, staying up late or whatever, and decide you’re going to stop it for only 2 weeks.
If it’s really your number one bad habit, you’re going to suffer a lot, from day 2 I suppose.
And that’s why we want to break and destroy these habits that enslave us, they numb us from experiencing real life, they make us think that life is easy as long as we’re doing them, and once we stop life is hell.
That’s not a trait of a strong character.
Bad habits weaken our character, I’m talking about stuffs you know are bad but you can’t live without them though.
And at the same time, breaking a bad habit is one heck of a journey that will make you realize what you’re really made of, especially if it’s something deep-rooted inside of you and you’ve been doing it for so long.
- Replacing Bad Habits With Good Ones (The Right Way)
- The Power of Habit: How To Break Bad Habits And Create Good Ones – Video
- A Simple Way To Break A Habit (TED Talk)
- Bad Habits and Your World – Dr.Phil
- 5 Steps to Breaking Bad Habits
- Psychology Today Guide Page About Breaking Bad Habits
4. Don’t Concern Yourself With What Others Think of You
Even though this is a great trait to develop, many people get this totally wrong, allow me to explain.
When you want to stop caring of what people think of you, that must come from a place of strength, and NOT ego or arrogance.
Because if it’s coming from a place of ego, then it’s weakness, ego and arrogance are traits of weakness because the person claims he’s superior only to cover up his flaws.
And if we dig deeper, the person who claims that he doesn’t care what people think of him because he is egoist, he actually cares about approval more than anybody.
Narcissist for example claim that they don’t care about what people think of them, and to a great extend, that’s correct, they don’t really care.
But on the other side, narcissists are disparate for attention and approval more than anybody.
While they do show that they don’t care about what people think of them, they crave people’s attention and acceptance!!
That’s because they don’t function from a place of humility and strength, they come from a place of egoism and arrogance.
Back to how not concerning yourself with people’s opinions will help you build your character.
Simply because you’re not after approval, sure we all want to be approved by the people around us to some extent, but the approval I’m talking about is the type of approval you will hate yourself if you didn’t get it.
You need it in order to feel good about yourself and actions, your sense of worth doesn’t come from within, it comes from this approval which comes from other people.
That’s a deadly mistake, because as soon as we do that, we become a copycat, we don’t think for ourselves, we believe whatever others tell us, we don’t dare to rebel on the norm and do something different.
That’s a recipe for a meaningless life.
We care about what others think of us because we want to be accepted, we don’t want to look different and looked down at.
Only those who got the courage to break free from the trap of acceptance are the ones who end up doing something outstanding.
- Carefully Allocating the F***s You Give
- Don’t Worry What Others Think of You
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***
- Haters and Critics: How to Deal with People Judging You and Your Work
- Becoming Unoffendable: How To Deal With Insults
5. Making Mistakes
We all mistakes, but not all of us deal with them probably, and it’s important to learn how to do that, so that when we make mistakes, we don’t let that destroy us.
And because we want to avoid making mistakes, we end up trying to be perfect in everything we do, and that’s not a good thing for your character.
Now let’s take a look at the types of mistakes that we make in our lives:
First we got mistakes that we make during learning or doing something new, which are completely normal and actually very important for our growth.
And then we got another type of mistakes, which are the “wrong” things that we do, the things that we know aren’t good for us.
Maybe that’s a bad habit, skipping the gym, procrastinating with an important task, being weak sometimes, and generally things that we feel bad after doing them because we believe that they’re bad.
More like “sins” for religious people.
But the common factor here is that we feel guilty after doing them.
Those mistakes we need to handle them the right way, otherwise they can destroy our character and leave us helpless.
The best way to deal with such mistakes is not something new for you actually, most of you know this already:
- Stop as soon as you catch yourself: Very simple, you don’t want to keep doing the “bad thing” for too long, ass soon as you realize you’re starting to go down the road, stop it, you may even be able to prevent the “mistake” from happening in the first place.
- Learn something from your mistake: That’s how the learning and the growth process happen, you learn from your own mistakes to avoid them in the future and become better, your mistakes can be your best teacher.
- Commit to never do it again: Yep, you don’t want to keep doing your mistakes forever, do you? you must stop somewhere! so learn your lesson and commit to never do this again, real commitment.
- Do this as fast as you can: Don’t wait until you’re feeling good about yourself, it know it feels bad after you make a mistake, but don’t ever wait for too long, get up right away and move on.
- Repeat if necessary: Yes you can end up doing the same mistake all over again, even after you commit not to! we’re only humans, so go over the whole process all over again. Sure I’m not asking you to make the mistake again, but just in case so that you don’t fall a victim of helplessness what you make it again.
- NEVER justify your mistakes: Never ever! mistake is mistake, and wrong is wrong, there’s no justification for that. “Oh I procrastinated because I was really tired, I lied to get the job, but you know, everybody does this anyway, not a big deal!!” Confuse that you’ve made a mistake, but never try to rationalize or justify why you did it, on the long-run you will find it a lot easier to fall to that mistake all over again and never seem to learn or fix anything.
6. Giving is The Fuel of The Soul
Helping people and giving without expecting anything in return is one of the most effective ways not only to develop character, but also to fuel the soul and become fulfilled in life.
And if you’re not convinced by the expression “fuel the soul”, take a look at some of the scientific and rational reasons behind why it helps.
People who volunteer were found to be happier and more fulfilled, and even some studies concluded that maybe volunteering has some health benefits.
Also it doesn’t take much to realize that the laughter you see in the face of a young child when you help him out is worth a lot.
Helping other people can help you in more ways than you actually help them, I’m talking about the emotional side, the character building, abundances you will find.
I don’t know, but there’s something powerful that I can’t find a word to describe it, it happens when we help someone out, when we give to others just for the sake of making them feel better.
It’s like strength you suddenly feel out of no where, feelings of completion and sense of worth, feelings like you’re actually making a different in someone’s else life, that’s gold!
No wonder why most of us remove emotionally when we see a video for someone doing something good like helping someone out or something.
And it can be just simple stuffs, like buying something for a child who doesn’t have money, giving food for people who starve or helping them build their house after a tragedy.
Imagine how it feels to starve for days and then suddenly out of no where someone comes by and help you out.
Imagine how it feels to lose your house and you have little baby you must take care of besides yourself, and someone helps you out and offer you a job and some money.
If that feels good, then I guarantee you that the person who has helped you out felt even greater, and you can be that person right now.
I can write more and more about this, and I’m trying to make you really feel it, but the only way to feel it is to experience it.
Go out there and do even the smallest things you can do, whatever that you can, not only you’re helping people and making a better world, but also you’re helping yourself in a way that you can’t imagine, and not just building the character.
Check these resources, maybe I’ve saved the best for the last.
- The Time I Had $0 to My Name – Written By Tony Robbins
- Tony Robbins: The Secret To Living Is Giving – Video
- Why Doing Good is Good For You
- How Doing Good Things (Like Giving) Can Boost Your Self-Esteem
Building character is a process, it’s a journey, but it’s one of the most important thing that you need to do if you’re serious about your self-development.
If all you’re doing to improve yourself are things on the outside to change the way people perceive you, you’re doing it wrong.
Here we discussed how to build a solid character by doing things differently and by changing your mindset a little bit.
6 areas that we need to take care of to get the most of ourselves, I promise you that taking care of these 6 areas will give you personal strength to live a meaningful life.
As you’ve may noticed, I’ve linked to many resources, from articles to video and even books! make sure to check them out as I don’t claim to have the ultimate knowledge to answer all your questions. That’s a lot of reading, but it’s worth it.
Knowledge alone won’t help you, you need to apply that knowledge, I count on you to do that.
Now leave a comment below and tell me how this crazy and hopefully useful article has helped you out, and what you can relate to the most from the things we mentioned.