When I was about eighteen I was working with a chap named Brian Williams, a man with a common name but whose character was anything but common.
One winter day he was driving down a slippery hill in an isolated area just east of Toronto. Brian, a relatively new driver with a relatively old car, was inching along when he lost control and skidded, his bumper hitting the side of a car parked on the shoulder of the road. There was no damage at all to Brian’s car, but the door on the driver’s side of the other car was badly crunched.
The car he hit was the only one within sight, and there wasn’t a person to be seen anywhere. No house was close enough for anyone to be able to read a license number. Even so, Brian left a note with his name, address and telephone number on it.
The lesson I learned from this incident is that the best measure of people’s character is what they would do if they knew they would never be found out. Following are more of my observations about character.
You aren’t the only one who has to live with what you are.
It’s what people are that comes through, not what they’re pretending to be.
If you don’t have it on the inside it can’t be seen on the outside.
People of character don’t let others set their standards.
It’s not who you know that counts; what counts is how you are known by those who know you.
Character is what you are in the dark.
A person of character can play bridge and golf as if they were games.
To do what’s right we need to know what’s right.
We should always choose the hard right over the easy wrong.
Character is developed by earning things, not by getting them for nothing.
Character is easier kept than recovered.
Be more concerned about your character than about your reputation; your reputation is what some people think you are in certain circumstances, but your character is what you really are all the time.
Temptation reveals character.
Adversity can be a test of character; but to really test character, give a person power.
A good indication of people’s character is how they behave when wrong.
Character isn’t what you say you believe; it’s the way you behave.
Character includes having both self-respect and respect for others.
The difference between character and behaviour is that behaviour may work in one situation but not another; character always works.
People will ultimately be judged by what they really are, not by what they think they are.
You can be judged by your questions as well as your answers.
People are judged by the company they keep, but they can also be judged by the company they keep clear of.
When faced with a moral decision, it’s your character that’s being tested, not your reputation.