Character is the combination of qualities that distinguishes one person from another. These qualities make up who you are on the inside?not the external front you may sometimes put up. Who are you, really? What do you do when no one is watching, when there is no one to impress? How do you treat people when you don't need something from them? Character is also made up of such qualities as integrity, honesty, sincerity, and predictability.
I consider solid character to be at the very foundation of one's ability to succeed. No success is going to be profound or lasting in its effects if it stems from questionable ethics, motives, or behaviors. In his best-selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey offers a powerful explanation for how character is crucial to one's ultimate success:
If I try to use human influence strategies and tactics of how to get other people to do what I want, to work better, to be more motivated, to like me and each other?while my character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity or insincerity?then, in the long run, I cannot be successful. My duplicity will breed distrust, and everything I do?even using so-called good human relations techniques?will be perceived as manipulative. It simply makes no difference how good the rhetoric is or even how good the intentions are; if there is little or no trust, there is no foundation for permanent success.
Even if you're an honest person of admirable character, it is human nature for people to cast sweeping judgments and formulate opinions without all the facts. So, if you want genuine trust and lasting persuasion, you must avoid even the slightest appearance of anything that might be considered dishonest. If you never place yourself in a situation where one might be misled about you or your integrity, then your good, hard-earned reputation will never be compromised.