Can You Change Your Character?

change your character

This week I’ve read two books that have proven to be pretty interrelated: Working with Emotional Intellegence by Daniel Goleman and Integrity by Henry Cloud. Both of these books are excellent reads for anyone who wants to build on their effectiveness in any relationship — and really, every aspect of life! One fascinating point Goleman makes is this: there are three characteristics which, more than any other, can statistically predict the rate of success a person will have in their life. Those three characteristics are empathy, self discipline and initiative. Now that you know that, don’t you wish you could improve in those areas? I know I do.

Which is what made the next book so encouraging. Dr. Cloud points out that our integrity and character are built as we grow, they’re not traits we are just born with.That fact is so hopeful! I’ve worked with many people who say they ‘do not have empathy’ or ‘cannot be empathetic.’ But, like any aspect of our character, it can be learned. We have to commit to growth in any area we want to develop. If you lack self discipline and initiative, you can increase this by hiring someone to help you.When you need to build empathetic skills, you have to discipline yourself and possibly ask for help. All of these lead to building your character and helping you be the person you desire to be (and that others need you to be!).

Sometimes I come across people with certain core values that have a harder time with one of those three traits. Interestingly, each of them relate actually do relate to a strength of one of the core values: Empathy comes pretty naturally for Merchants and Innovators; and self discipline comes more naturally for a Bankers and Builders. Initiative comes naturally when you’re excited about something, when it’s something you love, but what about when it’s hard and unnatural? Wherever you find yourself wanting to grow, try talking to someone who is a natural expert in that particular area. I might know a person or two to refer you to…so don’t hesitate to ask! Building your character and strengthening that which is weak is hard work, but well worth the effort.

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