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Personal development is not a journey that never ends… nor should it. The point of personal development is never to simply stop once you’ve reached a certain goal, but to keep reaching for more. The key to successful personal development is adopting a mindful attitude.
The ability to step back and take a “good hard look” at yourself and your life is crucial when it comes to developing a strong character. However, this often easier said than done, as we so often get caught up in the moment.
Just keep in mind that no matter how many times you fail to live up to your personal development goals, you'll always see progress as long as you keep trying and striving.
What are Character Traits?
Character traits are a bit like building blocks that a person can use to build their paradigm or way of seeing things. For example, whether you're a “glass half empty” or “glass half full” person depends on which of these traits you value.
Why is it Important to Possess Good Character Traits
There are nearly endless combinations of traits a person can have. But, these traits are not set in stone. They are aspirations. Some of them can come naturally, and others take lots of work. The importance of possessing good character traits isn't in living up to each one, but to persistently try to be better.
After all, we are human beings. The pursuit of becoming a better version of yourself is largely based in the practice of mindfulness. For example, if you find a wallet on the ground and your first thought is how it's your “lucky day,” that's not exactly living up to the ideals of “honesty” you might consciously be working on.
However, the act of setting aside that initial reaction and doing the right thing anyway is a demonstration of several other traits working within that moment to change the course of your behavior – such as integrity, self-discipline, and responsibility, just to name a few.
The most important reason to adopt good personality traits isn't to master these traits, but to actively engage in the pursuit of mastery. Even falling short can teach us something valuable.
31 Good Character Traits Everyone Should Develop
Being a person who can do the right thing when no one else is around is a huge character trait everyone should work on developing. For some, it comes naturally… while for others, it may take more work.
And let's make one thing clear, shall we? There is nothing wrong with needing to work harder to develop certain traits. There's no shame in striving to be a better person. The only shame is not doing so.
To be a solid person with integrity means that people can trust you, and that's a very powerful statement anyone can make about you.
For more inspiration, check out these integrity stories with a moral lesson about honesty.
Honesty is along the same line as integrity. Some may even see them as interchangeable terms. However, I view honesty through the lens of expression rather than just actions.
The ability to express oneself honestly is a much undervalued trait in our society. It's easy to go with the flow and not be a person who speaks their mind. At times, being honest can be uncomfortable and lead to disagreement.
But, by combining other traits such as empathy, humility, and self-discipline… you can find ways to be honest while not alienating others.
3. Keeping Promises
A person who's a man or woman of their word is someone who's a valuable asset in everyone's life. If a friend calls you at 3 am to pick them up, they know they can count on you if you say you'll be there.
While this trait can be very inconvenient at times, it's a measure of how much you care and how highly you think of the person you are making promises to.
Loyalty ties into honesty, integrity, empathy, and so many other traits. To be someone who has another person's back is one of the quickest ways to endear yourself to someone's heart.
Owning your mistakes or taking responsibility is one trait that's very difficult to develop. That's because our minds are always making excuses, sometimes very good ones, for our shortcomings.
Being the type of person with whom “the buck stops” is not easy. It's not always a trait that's going to earn you praise. But, it will build a stronger overall character.
6. Pursue Excellence
On the heels of responsibility comes the pursuit of excellence. Indeed, it's hard to imagine pursuing excellence without having a sense of personal responsibility for everything you say and do.
And you don't have to be a visionary like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs to pursue excellence. Anyone can achieve this trait doing any line of work. What counts is doing everything you set out to do while giving 100 percent of your efforts.
Empathy can be a difficult trait to foster in today's cynical society. Far too often, we see people tearing others down on social media. Cynicism has become fashionable, while kindness seems rare and somewhat antiquated.
Empathy is the act of trying to understand the other person's perspective, not just being a “shoulder to cry on”, but someone who wants to understand where that person is coming from.
8. Treat Everyone with Respect
Showing respect to everyone you meet, no matter what their status is in life, is very similar to empathy. However, it doesn't necessarily mean having a heart-to-heart with someone, but rather showing them the basic respect due to a fellow human being.
9. Be a Fair Person
Being fair isn't always pleasant, as often we wish to justify our unfairness when it suits our agenda. True fairness requires responsibility, empathy, and respect, along with so many other traits. In many ways, it's one of the ultimate expressions of many of the traits to which we aspire to improve.
10. Be Lawful
A person who plays by the rules is one who shows respect for the systems we all depend on. A truly lawful person is like being someone who's unlikely to get caught or get in trouble if they decide to break the law.
To be someone who doesn't seek shortcuts or unfair advantages over others helps improve our society by strengthening our society's noble ideals and foundations.
Knowing humility even when everything in your life is going well is a form of empathy that can also help you find greater happiness. Appreciating the simple things in life and showing gratitude for all you have can be the balance you need to be the best human being you can be.
The inability to forgive is something that hurts you more than anyone else. You're removing a heavy burden in your heart by learning to forgive. Our guide titled “19 Strategies to Let Go Your of Anger and Resentment” can help you get started.
Being a genuine people can really get to know is such a rare trait these days. In the era of online anonymity, it's easy to see how such a trait can become rare.
Our authenticity is also something people will always remember us by, and if you've developed other favorable traits alongside it, then they are likely to think of you with fondness whenever they speak of you.
Being a person who can give not just their material wealth, but also their personal time and true self is another thing people will cherish for a lifetime.
One of the most famous examples of perseverance must be Thomas Edison. Here was a man who famously failed over 10,000 experiments before discovering the light bulb. Never give up and you’ll always see personal success.
16. Self Discipline
The power of “no” is very real. It doesn't just apply to resisting the requests others may impose upon you, but also those you impose onto yourself.
Resisting the temptations of now is the key to building greater rewards later.
17. Be a Motivator
Transforming yourself into a powerful force that encourages others is a trait that can not only move you further in life but also help others as well.
By ensuring the continuance of your positive mindset, you can also create an environment around you that can give you energy when you need it, almost like a self-powering gyro engine that builds upon its own momentum.
18. Be Thorough
Having meticulous attention to detail, whether it's physical, emotional, or some other form of engagement, can ensure you make fewer mistakes.
19. Take Risks
Playing it safe is not only a boring way to live life, but it can also leave you unsatisfied. If you desire to improve yourself, there's always an itch within you to become a better person.
20. Live Your Core Values
Being a person who lives their core values every day is someone others can respect and admire, even if they don't share the same values.
However, if you live by the example of the values you hold dear, your life can be the example that exemplifies the best of those values.
Being able to adjust to the unexpected on the fly is a trait that can always help you land on your feet no matter what life throws your way.
Patience is one that's tough to work on sometimes. The key to improving your patience with others is to improve it with yourself. There will be times you'll be impatient. Just be mindful of those times and keep striving to improve.
Pushing your imagination to think a bit outside the box can be really motivating and exciting, especially when a good idea pops into your head.
Considering different ways of looking at something can offer amazing benefits. You don't have to accept everything, but being willing to hear someone out makes you stronger in the long run.
Being an island of calm in the middle of a storm can give you the insight you need to find the right solutions. This is not an easy trait to master, but flexibility and patience will help.
To be someone others can approach and feel at ease around is a trait everyone values in others. Some of our most beloved celebrities have this trait.
Be a person who's always asking questions and trying to figure something out. Questions are what keep life interesting. Without them, life can seem pretty dull and predictable.
Whatever you do, do it with confidence. Don't allow the possibility of failure to prevent you from giving your best. Remember, the worst that can happen is often just another opportunity to learn from your mistakes. So be bold and go for it!
Being the kind of person who can work with others is key to enjoying fruitful relationships, whether in your private or professional life.
Sometimes it can pay to be the kind of person who raises their hand first to volunteer. Being eager is a form of risk-taking that many people can respect when you're willing to give it your all every time.
Organization can be a tough one for a lot of folks. The good news is there's no cookie-cutter way to be organized. You can develop your own system that work just for you.
One of the most important character traits most of us had as children is one that adult society mercilessly strips away from us as we grow older, and that's our ability to be playful. Being playful isn't just about being silly.
It's also imagining “what if?” and asking big questions, letting your mind think “outside the box.” Some of the best ideas come from folks with a “playful” mindset.
While most of us may think we are naturally kind, being kind isn't always easy… especially when other matters demand our time and attention. For instance, taking the time to contact the family of a confused older person you find wandering the street is a lot easier said than done when you are ruining late to meet up with your friends.
Character traits can also be inherent based on our personality. However, in seeking to improve ourselves, we tend to look for those traits in which we find ourselves lacking and improve on those. This self-realization is an admirable character trait in and of itself.
This can be a tough one for many of us as some of us don't have very energetic natures. But, it's not only about being outgoing or the life of a party, but it can also be about “getting started.” Being energetic is also about tackling your procrastination and just diving into your task.
Final Thoughts on Traits All People Should Develop
Obtaining good character traits is all about pursuing a positive mindset to help yourself and others. Helping both is very important, and often finding the balance between altruism and self-love can be a challenge in and of itself.
But a solid foundation of good character traits can ensure your ship is always pointed in the right direction of your goals. So if you're interested in learning how to set new goals and achieve them, please check out “13 Steps to Write & Set SMART Goals [2022 Update].”
And for more information on building good habits, please take a look at “How to Build New Habits That Stick [The Ultimate Guide].”
Just remember: it's the journey that's most important, not the destination. We are all meant to try, fail, learn, and grow many times before our unique journeys come to their natural end.