Man is motivated by something and everyone has an agenda that could be driven by economic gains, social solutions, philanthropic ideologies, etc., however, not every human is out for financial gain in their endeavors and undertakings.
This means that we should seek to know/ understand the motivating factor(s) and purpose of individuals and groups in order to relate, trade, and/ or manage them better. Similarly, we should have a good response system to approach the different behavior and personalities in their attempt to achieve personal goals or collective objectives.
- How do you respond to bad behavior or event?
- Do you think you can tolerate an exact replica of yourself?
- What are your virtues and vices?
- What do you think you can do to improve good nature or conquer bad vices?
Following our Ethics class session on virtues, I decided to share some interesting points and suggestions on how to build good character.
Before looking at external elements, it is necessary to take an inward review/count of our personal components and characteristics. Our personalities and nature, constitute emotional predispositions that make us human. Therefore, it is important to first guide our reactions and responses to life events.
Personal and intrinsic values
We all have personal values that serve as guiding tracks to good behavior. Primarily, we should endeavor to strive for positive values. I believe Integrity and self-control should be considered vital factors to building a good and lasting character. One should make conscious efforts to be honest, trustworthy, disciplined, and true in all dealings such that evil would or unethical thoughts/ actions would be far from our consciousness.
This includes both the informal and formal learning systems such as Home, School, Church, training institutions, etc. Teachings should be informative, practical, motivating, correctional, reinforcing, and insightful to instill ethics; encourage moral behavior; and confidence from a young age to higher education and beyond.
We see such an example of strong education and sensitization as practiced by LBS in its introduction of Ethics and Corporate/ Business sustainability practices in her Curriculum and Operational Standards.
Furthermore, we can see the effects of Education in the development of individual and national behavioral expectations as evident in the US education system. Here, students are taught the history of the USA from a perspective of strength, courage, intelligence, and world superiority. Throughout the early education and career progression years, so much passion and carefully selected reinforcements are employed to instill pride and confidence in the flag.
These include constant indicators, reminders of the need, and projected benefits of patriotism against all costs. This education system is so powerful that even when faced with opposition or any national challenge, individuals are willing to give up their lives and comfort to defend Her honor and integrity.
Wow! wouldn’t you love to command such power for good? It is the brilliant effect of education. It is the master key to introducing, directing, achieve and inspiring change.
Here let’s consider both the external and internal influences such as personal (self), family, peers, colleagues, supervisors, associations, government policies, etc.
Our environment is a primary influence and motivator of good or bad. It is a necessary tool to inspire, promote and reinforce good character.
Additionally, it is useful to ensure effective moral training, ethical practices, and reward improvement or punish non-compliance or negligence as applicable.
“Evil communication,” they say “corrupts good manner”
Set control measures, monitoring standards and evaluation system
For effective change or character formation, there is a need to define parameters. Furthermore, it is necessary to monitor and evaluate the performance of the desired character. This will help to set learning conditions; determine progress; define improvement strategies or adoptable actions to facilitate effective character development.
Set policies and reward structure to reinforce learning
Laws exist to guide and monitor compliance. Likewise, policies are guidelines and necessary tools in setting structure, normalizing and communicating expectations as well as managing people.
For example, adopting to the popular African adage: “Spare the rod and spoil the child” – this was our parents correction model. It was set to drive, direct, monitor and reinforce good character. I am certain most of us have crazy lanyard stories, please, share. Thank you.
This is an important development and correction tool to boost confidence, communicate or report when a character goal has been achieved or when there’s a gap.
A reward system such as punishment or incentives serves as reinforcement tools to punish noncompliance or recognize and reward positive character.
Clapping for a child when they do something nice
Organizational performance and behavioral competency report to employees, etc.
Mentorship and accountability units
In order to build character is important to employ the services of experienced and trusted role models or accountability units/ groups. These persons or groups may possess similar interests.
Ultimately, they should be able and interested in tackling deficiencies; addressing hindering or recurring challenges; defining responsibilities; monitoring the development and progress of character formation.
This would include career mentors, religious leaders/guides, cell groups with similar challenges or interests, correctional units/groups, etc.
Accountability is vital to eliminate distractions and increase focus.
Although mental and moral qualities are distinctive to an individual, it is still a personal responsibility to treat others fairly; be trustworthy; honor commitments; make ethical decisions, and be environmentally aware. It may be challenging but it is doable and satisfying.
Until next time. Stay focused and stay safe.
Article by Ezinne Okuku