I have written about Personality Ethic vs. Character Ethic before . This post I want to examine it more closely as way for you to understand the difference and why it is so important.
Stephen R. Covey brought it to light in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly effective People.
“The Personality Ethic focuses on “how to appear to be” rather than to “actually be”.”
“In stark contrast, almost all the literature in the first 150 years or so focused on what could be called the Character Ethic as the foundation of success–things like
and the Golden Rule.’
“Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography is representative of that literature. It is, basically, the story of one man’s effort to integrate certain principles and habits deep within his nature.’
“The Character Ethic taught that there are basic principles of effective living, and that people can only experience true success and enduring happiness as they learn and integrate these principles into their basic character.
“I am not suggesting that elements of the personality ethic—personality growth, communication skill training, and education in the field of influence strategies and positive thinking —are not beneficial, in fact sometimes essential for success. I believe they are.
But these are secondary, not primary traits.”
Sometimes this focus on improving your personality would include some mention of character, but it has become mostly an afterthought—as long as you are charming and know how to dress, and package yourself in the right ways, you will be on the road to success.
Here is a YouTube explaining the difference with Stephen R. Covey speaking:
This video is 7:52 minutes long. If you don’t have time for that, check in at 4:25 to watch the tip of the iceberg of Personality with the bulk of it being Character. That is a good visual for your children to see. Stephen R. Covey says the first step in developing your character?
“Make a promise and keep it.”