Originally from the Philippine Star.
The six pillars of character
BUSINESS MATTERS (Beyond the bottom line) By Francis J. Kong
Saturday, March 1, 2008
As most young, weak and smart kids are, Junior was picked on constantly by the bullies in school. They stole his lunch, they beat him up and just downright made his life miserable. It took him a couple of weeks to find a way to get back at these bullies and when he found out what would get them back, he went all out.
He was on the school bus where he normally gets his lunch stolen when he brought out a bottle that had what looked like small brown balls in it. He then, making sure no one was looking, secretly took from his pocket some milk duds and started popping them in his mouth, as obvious to the rest of the kids as possible, making yum yum noises.
The bully, without asking, snatched the jar from Junior’s hand and asked, “What’s in the bottle that you are making such a big deal of?”
“Well, they’re smart pills.”
“Smart pills?” the bully asked, then opened the jar and popped a couple of the foreign brown balls in his mouth.
“Pweeuuweppblahhh!!” he reacted. “What is this stuff? It tastes like dog manure!!”
And Junior says, “See, you’re getting smarter already.”
Now here’s my question.
What should we eat and when would we learn to be smart as a people?
When would we ever learn that it’s not charisma alone, it’s not intelligence alone and it’s not competence alone that could bring long lasting success?
I have seen this happen in leaders. Leaders in business, leaders in religious institutions as well as leaders in government and it still amaze me how these people fail to realize this obvious fact. That many people rise up to their level of success because of their talents and skills and slide down to their destruction because of their character defects. But the same people are still busy trying to salvage their reputation and they still miss the lesson on fixing their character.
Michael Josephson’s has spent almost his entire life studying this and he has observed that the most effective framework is built on six core ethical values called the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.
Meaning, a person of good character should be packed with the following:
First, be worthy of trust, live with honor and integrity, be honest, keep your promises, and do what’s right even when it costs more than you want to pay.
Second, treat others with respect; live by the Golden Rule; and avoid physical violence, verbal abuse, prejudice, and all other acts that demean or offend human dignity.
Third, be responsible, exercise self-discipline and self-restraint, do your best, and be self-reliant and accountable for the consequences of your choices.
Fourth, be fair, don’t cheat, be open and consistent, don’t jump to conclusions, and be careful when making judgments about others.
Fifth, be caring, kind, empathetic, and charitable; avoid selfishness; and do what you can to improve the lives of others.
Sixth, be a good citizen, do your share to make your community better, protect the environment, participate in democratic processes, play by the rules, and obey laws (unless you have a compelling conscientious objection). And all these are biblically accurate.
Lord Macaulay says: “The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.”
Here is a very practical tip. Just work on your character and your reputation will take care of itself.
William Arthur Ward says: “Character is always lost when a high ideal is sacrificed on the alters of conformity and popularity.”
Character is not reliant on surveys, poll results, press releases and photo ops. It’s being honest with the image you see in the mirror every day and figuring out if you have lived your life as an example for people to follow or as a warning for people to avoid.
(Send me your feedback and write me: franciskong @businessmatters.org You can also listen to my radio program “Business Matters” aired 8:30a.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily over 98.7 dzFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch’, the classical music station.)