For those of you who know me I love audiobooks and one of my favorite times to listen to them is when I am out walking by myself. As I am committing to a higher level of personal change this 2020 amid the fight against the coronavirus that is attacking our families, communities, country and global community. I think this is a good time to look back at one of my favorite authors whose words are timeless and whose life was committed to personal growth and change. This author is Dr. Stephen R. Covey and his most famous and globally influential book was “The 7 habits of highly effective people”.

At first glance you might think this is another book on how to get rich and influence (code word for manipulate) people. So many of the books written in the last 40 or so years have been just this. However, no matter how much money we make or how much power and control we believe we have over others; there is still a hole that is left in our souls that no amount of money or power can ever fill. However success can be most sweet when it is earned through means that elevate and empower not only ourselves but others.

This is the type of success that Dr. Covey writes about and gives a road map on how to achieve it, beginning with our own personal growth and change. The first focus is understanding the difference between Character Ethics and Personality Ethics. The literature over the last 50 years has advanced the model of personality ethics. This is the type approach where people are encouraged to use positive thinking in order to push their agendas over that of others. In addition, they use manipulation, intimidation, deception and even lying to get people to like them and push their agenda. “The end justifies the means” is the motto of those who subscribe to the personality ethics. The most important modeling of success is that of image or how we appear to others.

Character Ethics, according to Dr. Covey modeling of success is built around honesty, courage, integrity, fidelity (keeping our word or vow), justice, fairness, industry, simplicity, modesty and the Golden Rule. Character Ethics differs from that of Personality in that it is a not a quick means to an end; but instead a life time commitment that requires the courage to look within and acknowledge our mistakes, apologize and move forward in a better way . We are able to admit that we are not perfect, but we are valuable. We do not need the validation of others in order in to know that we have value, as we are continue to be motivated by character virtues that define our success. When we are motivated by character ethics we understand that the end or what we are trying to achieve can never be achieved by means that sacrifice the virtues of character. It is the understanding of the natural law of reaping what we sow. 

However, it is important to note that the personality ethics does achieve success for many persons willing to use it. But the cost is quite high as it cannot be maintained and eventually the light of day shines down on the lies, manipulation, intimidation and deception. The very people who mean the most are the ones who leave us along with those who were only there for the ride. Those who practice the virtues of character will have the longer lasting benefit of good relationships with others that produce genuine friendship and love in personal as well as business. There is a lasting legacy that is felt by those who practice character virtues and in addition there is also a satisfaction and peace that fills the spirit and soul of a life well lived.

Best wishes,


#Gracewalks #ChiWalk #ChiRun