THE FIVE GREAT PRINCIPLES FOR LIFE: Focus, Strength, Success, Wisdom, Responsibility

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First, multi-dimensional assessment is hard work. Each dimension is dynamic and changing, and inter-dependent in complex ways. Holding this complexity is intellectually demanding, and requires a tentative stance and openness to changing understanding. It is much easier and in some ways more rewarding to be the clinical expert, who can summarise the problems of the person i.

This issue will reduce with the development of a shared taxonomy and language for dimensions 2 to 4. This is beginning to emerge. For example, the concept of character strengths has been disaggregated into six core virtues of wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence [ 81 ]. Similarly, positive affect has been disaggregated into Joviality e.

Second, the expectation in the mental health system that it is the person who is going to be treated inevitably leads to a focus of attention on the individual. This of course is a consequence of clinical and patient beliefs about what the job is, and doesn't have to be the case. Third, the clinician's illusion means that professionals don't see people as often when they are coping [ 83 ], so they gain the false impression they cannot cope or self-right. Finally, the questions asked impose a structure on the dialogue, and influences content.

The highly practised deficits-focussed discourse of taking a psychiatric history systematically identifies all the deficient, inexplicable, different and abnormal qualities and experiences of the person. This focus on deficits and the other Ds: difficulties, disappointment, diagnosis, disease, disability, disempowerment, disenfranchisement, demoralisation, dysfunction reinforces an illness identity, and the person disappears.

Up close, nobody is normal: a deficit-focussed discourse will always elicit confirmatory evidence for an illness-saturated view of the person. An alternative approach is possible [ 84 ]. In assessment, this involves a greater emphasis on the individual's goals and strengths, an approach which has been developed and evaluated in the Strengths Model [ 85 ]. Other approaches which emphasise well-being over deficits in assessment processes are person-centred planning [ 86 , 87 ] and Wellness Recovery Action Planning [ 88 ].

What these have in common is an assumption that it is more productive to focus on what the person wants in their life and what they can do towards their own goals than on what the professional thinks is in the person's best interests and on what the person cannot do. What interventions increase levels of well-being or amplify existing strengths?

This psychological intervention will be familiar to most clinical readers, so no introduction will be given. Competently-provided CBT is aligned with many elements of promoting recovery and personal well-being: a focus on personally-valued rather than service-valued goals; responsibility for change lies with the patient not the therapist; the development of meta-cognitive awareness - an awareness of thoughts being distinct from self - which creates the context in which a positive identity can flourish, despite the presence of ongoing symptoms of mental illness; enhancing self-management skills and reinforcing interdependence and independence rather than dependence, leading to sustained gains after the end of the formal therapy; and an emphasis on homework, reality testing and learning opportunities which all contribute to keeping the person in their life during therapy.

If unhappiness is caused by a mismatch between self and ideal-self images, then CBT has the potential to focus on the environmental reality as much as the personal interpretation of experience. This points to a wider role for professionals, a point we will return to. Recent approaches to CBT explicitly focus on building strengths and resilience [ 89 ]. Meditation is " a family of techniques which have in common a conscious attempt to focus attention in a non-analytical way, and an attempt not to dwell on discursive, ruminative thought " [ 90 ].

Teaching meditation to members of the public increases self-reported happiness and well-being, changes which are corroborated by healthier EEG readings, heart rates and flu immunity [ 91 ]. Meditation has been applied to mental health issues, such as anger [ 92 ] and - in the form of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy MBCT - depression [ 93 ].

Mindfulness, like prayer [ 94 ], is a form of meditation which involves attending non-judgmentally to all stimuli in the internal and external environment but to avoid getting caught up in i. Mindfulness requires a different mind-set to the quick-fix of a magic pharmacological or psychological bullet.

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Just as becoming a top-class violinist requires 10, hours of practice with a competent teacher [ 95 ], so too mindfulness needs to become a way of life if it is to transform identity. It involves changing habits:. The pay-off in terms of well-being is high. Mindfulness has the potential to lead to a reconstructed, more complex identity, in which self and thought are separated.

Development of a watching self gives a different means of responding to and working on experiences of mental illness.

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Developing habits of greater occupation of the available attention reduces rumination and increases being in the moment - the flow concept we discussed earlier [ 96 ]:. Assuming that attention is a zero-sum game, the most efficient way to reduce negative and increase positive thoughts and emotions may be to focus on increasing the positive.

Overall, the personal qualities cultivated through mindfulness practice are nonjudging, nonstriving, acceptance, patience, trust, openness, letting go, gentleness, generosity, empathy, gratitude and lovingkindness [ 97 ] - qualities which are highly relevant to the personal recovery journey of people with mental illness.

A further clinical approach emerges from a sub-discipline called narrative psychology , which investigates the value of translating emotional experiences into words. This brings together insights from three strands of research primarily from European and American cultures [ 98 ]:. One approach involves asking people to write about or in other ways generate an account of their experiences, as a means of making sense of their own story.

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The most beneficial story content includes placing the story in a context appropriate to its purpose, the transformation of a bad experience into a good outcome, and the imposition of a coherent structure [ 99 ]. Developing stories about growth, dealing with difficult life events and personal redemption all contribute to a positive narrative identity [ ]. Empirical evidence suggests that this approach is particularly beneficial for groups who, as a whole, are not as open about their emotions: men [ ], people with high hostility [ ], and people with alexythimia [ ].

An approach which brings together several of these methods is positive psychotherapy PPT [ ].

I. Overview of Student Teaching

The less government we have, the better — the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The gentleman displays five virtues: self-respect, generosity, sincerity, persistence, and benevolence. Personally relevant, rather than meeting the needs of staff There may of course be other reasons for staff-based care planning, but care plans focussed on clinical risk, medication compliance, relapse prevention and symptom reduction will not promote personal recovery. Some little, unassuming, unobtrusive choice presents itself before us slyly and craftily, glib and insinuating, in the modest garb of innocence. The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, to be surprised out of our propriety, to lose our sempiternal memory and to do something without knowing how or why; in short to draw a new circle. You have the expertise to answer the question, but it's beyond your normal level of authority.

The focus in PPT is on increasing positive emotion, engagement and meaning. For example, groups for depression undertake a series of weekly exercises. Week 1 Using Your Strengths involves using the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths [ 81 ] to assess your top five strengths, and think of ways to use those strengths more in your everyday life. Week 4 Gratitude Visit involves thinking of someone to whom you are very grateful, but whom you have never properly thanked, composing a letter to them describing your gratitude, and reading it to the person by phone or in person.

Week 6 Savouring involves once a day taking the time to enjoy something that you usually hurry through, writing write down what you did, how you did it differently, and how it felt compared to when you rush through it. These exercises are intended to amplify components of Authentic Happiness [ 51 ]. We have considered some approaches to focussing more on strengths, goals and preferences. However, if mental health services are to fully support recovery and promote well-being, it may not be enough to simply counter-balance a focus on individual deficit with a focus on individual capability, since this leaves unchallenged the clinical belief that treatment is something you do first, after which the person gets on with their own life.

This is highlighted as an unhelpful approach in the accounts from people who write about their recovery from mental illness. For example, Rachel Perkins notes [ ]:. Mental health problems are not a full time job - we have lives to lead.

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Any services, or treatments, or interventions, or supports must be judged in these terms - how much they allow us to lead the lives we wish to lead. We therefore now raise some potential implications of positive psychology for the job of the mental health professional at the social, rather than individual, level. This is underpinned by an emerging understanding of the importance of relationships and connection for individual and social well-being.

For example, an international consortium of academics has recently produced reports about determinants and influences on well-being [ ]. It is no coincidence that these are all outward-looking recommendations, more about engaging in and living life to the full than sorting out any internal or intrapsychic disturbances.

Stigma and discrimination stop people with mental illness from exercising their full rights as citizens and meeting their human needs for connection [ ]. Therefore, the role of the mental health professional should be about challenging stigma and creating well-being-promoting societies as well as treating illness. Supporting people using mental health services from accessing normal citizenship entitlements is a central i. We illustrate this in relation to employment. If a single outcome measure had to be chosen to capture recovery, there would be a case to make that it should be employment status.

Not because of a value about economic productivity, but because work has so many associated benefits. There is now a strong evidence base that Individual Placement and Support IPS approaches which support the person to find and maintain mainstream employment are better than training the person up in separate sheltered employment schemes in preparation for mainstream work [ , ].

Mental health professionals can increase the access of service users to the valued social role of work by supporting the development of employment schemes [ ]. One specific work opportunity is within mental health services. However, health services have a history of poor recruitment and retention approaches to attracting people with declared mental illness to work for them [ 31 ].

Of course, many people working in these services have an undisclosed history of mental illness. This is a wasted opportunity, and reinforces stigmatising us-and-them beliefs in the work-force. Actively encouraging applications from people who have used mental health services for all posts, and positively discriminating between applicants with the same skill level in favour of people with a history of mental illness are two relevant approaches. They directly challenge " the common tendency in human service organisations to see workers as either health and strong and the donors of care, or as weak and vulnerable recipients " [ ].

There are other ways in which mental health professionals and teams can improve social inclusion. A common experience of workers in the mental health system is frustration - a sense that these ideas about social inclusion, employment and social roles are all well and good, but impossible to implement within the existing constraints. But resources can become available by spending allocated money differently. The service decided to undergo a 'fiscal paradigm shift', by spending money to promote wellness and recovery especially by creating pathways back into employment rather than promote stability and maintenance.

Hospitalisations and living in institutional residence are markedly reduced for members attending the Village [ ], allowing the money saved to be re-invested in work-supporting services. A further contribution from the clinician can be educating local employers about their legal duties under relevant discrimination legislation and about reasonable work-place adjustments for people with mental illness. The accommodations can relate to People focussing on interpersonal challenges , Places focussing on where the work takes place , Things focussing on equipment needed to do the job or Activities focussing on the work tasks.

For people with physical disability, accommodation needs tend to relate to Places and Things. This is what employers are used to. In mental illness, People issues are often the central issue. Employers need educating about how these interpersonal needs can be tended to, which might include [ ]:. Alongside this direct contribution to improving social inclusion, well-being focussed mental health professionals of the future will also have a contribution to make to policy.

If a new knowledge base around well-being is integrated by mental health professionals into their practice, then this creates opportunities to influence social and political priorities. The position power and status of the role allow authoritative communication with the aim of influencing society and increasing wellbeing both for the general population and specifically for people with experience of mental illness. A few examples will illustrate this re-orientation. Does money bring happiness?

If social comparison influences well-being, what are the implications for policy? For example, do social structures such as gated communities and private schools harm us all? Contrary to intuition, those within the enclave aren't any happier because they are no wealthier than their comparison group, and those outside have a visibly wealthier reference group.

Television is a powerful influence, both because it encourages social comparison and because of its innate effects. Researchers have observed consistently adverse changes following the introduction of television into new communities. In Bhutan, this was followed by increased family break-up, crime and drug-taking, alongside reduced parent-child conversation [ ].

In Canada, social life, participation in sports and level of creativity were all negatively impacted [ ]. Homicide rates go up after televised heavyweight fights [ ], and suicide rates increase after on-screen portrayals [ ]. Television content leads to an inflated estimate of adultery and crime rates [ ], and negative self-appraisal [ ]. Given the average Briton watches 25 hours of television per week [ ] - with similar levels in the US [ 54 ] - what does this imply for media regulation?

When making a social comparison, the reference group influences well-being: Olympic bronze medal winners who compare themselves with people missing out on a medal are happier than Silver medal winners who compare themselves with the victor [ ]. For mental health, this may mean that anti-stigma campaigns focussed on promoting mental health literacy and identifying when to seek professional help actually increase negative social comparisons and reduce well-being.

High-profile people talking about their own experiences are better at reducing the social distance and difference experienced by people with mental illness [ ]. In contrast to salary, 4 weeks holiday when others have 8 weeks is preferred over 2 weeks when others have 1 week [ ]. Would a national policy of compulsory flexible working arrangements e. More generally, the fact that people who win Oscars live longer than unsuccessful nominees [ ] may point to the importance of achievement for longevity.

If we want people to live longer, should we focus on developing community-level opportunities for participation, connection and mastery? Should services for particularly marginalised groups, such as people with mental illness, put some of their resources towards celebrating and amplifying success?

What are the sources of happiness? The effects on happiness of problems in each domain have been estimated, on the basis of international surveys of factors associated with happiness [ , ]. Using a scale from 10 no happiness to total happiness , the fall in happiness associated with separation compared with marriage is 8 points, with unemployment or poor health is 6 points, with personal freedom is 5 points, with saying no to "God is important in my life" personal values is 3. Can these seven identified influences be used by mental health services to directly increase happiness, rather than continuing with attempts to reduce unhappiness?

This will involve meeting three challenges. First, traditional professional training only focuses on one of these seven influences: health. Second, interventions to promote health which increase personal freedom and are concordant with personal values will increase happiness more than those which impinge on personal freedom or which deny or discount personal value.

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This will require clinical decision-making to focus as much on values and freedom as on intervention effectiveness - echoing the call for ethics before technology by Bracken and Thomas [ ]. Third, most influences on happiness are social rather than intrapsychic, yet most mental health interventions are at the level of the individual.

Overall, this is not to argue for more centralised control per se , but rather to highlight that this knowledge should be more visible in public debate, so that both social policy and individual choices are informed by our best scientific understanding of contributors to well-being. We finish on an optimistic note. One reason for raising some of these implications is to highlight their relative absence from sociopolitical debate. Although there is good evidence that being happy and cheerful is associated with improved brain chemistry, blood pressure and heart rate [ , ], and with living longer [ ], this kind of evidence does not yet feature prominently in public debate.

If skilled professionals with an interest in promoting well-being don't point out that a high turnover of local residents create communities which are less cohesive [ ] and more violent [ ] then who will inject this information into social policy? Similarly, the pernicious effects of a societal value that we must make the most of everything is becoming clear.

People who constantly worry about missing opportunities - so-called hyper-optimisers - have more regrets, make more social comparisons and are less happy than people who are happy with what is good enough [ ]. An empirically-informed policy-making approach would recognise the toxic consequences for well-being of societies which encourage unfavourable social comparison, continuous reoptimisation to make the best of every opportunity, and living for the future rather than savouring the present.

Research into mental illness proceeds apace. Advances in understanding are being generated by genetic, genomic, proteomic, psychological and epidemiological studies, among other disciplines. These advances are to be welcomed, and should continue to inform clinical practice. The challenge is to also integrate and apply the evidence base around well-being, so that mental health professionals of the future inform social policy as well as treating mental illness.

Mike's main research interests are recovery-focussed and outcome-focussed mental health services, user involvement in and influence on mental health services, staff-patient agreement on need, and contributing to the development of clinically useable outcome measures, including the Camberwell Assessment of Need and the Threshold Assessment Grid. He has written over academic articles and seven books, including Slade M Personal recovery and mental illness , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Operationalisation, definition and examples of three domains of mental health. Table showing operationalisation, definition and examples of three domains of mental health. Points of convergence between recovery in mental illness and positive psychology. Table showing points of convergence between recovery in mental illness and positive psychology. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Published online Jan Mike Slade 1. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author. Mike Slade: ku.

Received Feb 18; Accepted Jan This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Associated Data Supplementary Materials Additional file 1 Operationalisation, definition and examples of three domains of mental health. DOC 59K. Additional file 2 Points of convergence between recovery in mental illness and positive psychology. DOC 43K. Abstract Background A new evidence base is emerging, which focuses on well-being. Discussion New forms of evidence give a triangulated understanding about the promotion of well-being in mental health services. Summary If health services are to give primacy to increasing well-being, rather than to treating illness, then health workers need new approaches to working with individuals.

Background The World Health Organisation WHO declares that health is " A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity "[ 1 ]. Discussion The WHO declaration about mental health is also clear: it is " a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community " [ 1 ]. New area of knowledge 1: Recovery People personally affected by mental illness have become increasingly vocal in communicating both what their life is like with the mental illness and what helps in moving beyond the role of a patient with mental illness.

New area of knowledge 2: Positive Psychology Positive psychology is the science of what is needed for a good life. Martin Seligman, often identified along with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as the founders of the discipline, suggests a definition [ 36 ]: The field of positive psychology at the subjective level is about valued subjective experiences: well-being, contentment, and satisfaction in the past ; hope and optimism for the future ; and flow and happiness in the present.

Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Table 1 Prevalence of mental health and mental illness. Personally relevant, rather than meeting the needs of staff There may of course be other reasons for staff-based care planning, but care plans focussed on clinical risk, medication compliance, relapse prevention and symptom reduction will not promote personal recovery.

The right level of challenge The concept of a reasonable goal captures the balance in setting goals which are neither too easy leading to boredom and distraction nor too difficult leading to anxiety and heightened self-awareness. Proximal rather than distal Short-term goals provide more opportunity to become engrossed in the experience, and make engaged goal-striving more likely. Structured so that feedback is immediate and authentic It is this immediate feedback loop that promotes full attentional awareness on the challenge One approach to increasing well-being is therefore to support personally-relevant goal-setting and goal-striving activity.

Parallels between positive psychology and recovery There are parallels between the position of recovery ideas in the mental health system and the position of positive psychology in the family of psychology disciplines [ 65 ]. As Resnick and Rosenheck put it [ 65 ]: Proponents of the recovery model would instead argue that the existence of "pathology" is not equivalent to "weakness and damage" and should not preclude a focus on what is healthy.

Implications for mental health assessment practices How can a person with mental illness be assessed if the clinical goal is to promote well-being? Clinical assessment should focus on four dimensions [ 80 ]: 1. Deficiencies and undermining characteristics of the person 2. Strengths and assets of the person 3. Lacks and destructive factors in the environment 4. Resource and opportunities in the environment Traditional clinical assessment practice - exemplified by the mental state assessment - focuses almost exclusively on dimension 1.

Interventions in mental health services to promote well-being What interventions increase levels of well-being or amplify existing strengths? Cognitive behavioural therapy CBT This psychological intervention will be familiar to most clinical readers, so no introduction will be given. Mindfulness Meditation is " a family of techniques which have in common a conscious attempt to focus attention in a non-analytical way, and an attempt not to dwell on discursive, ruminative thought " [ 90 ].

Developing habits of greater occupation of the available attention reduces rumination and increases being in the moment - the flow concept we discussed earlier [ 96 ] Narrative psychology A further clinical approach emerges from a sub-discipline called narrative psychology , which investigates the value of translating emotional experiences into words. This brings together insights from three strands of research primarily from European and American cultures [ 98 ]: 1.

Inhibition - not talking about emotional trauma is unhealthy 2. Cognitive - development of a self-narrative allows closure 3. Social dynamics - keeping a secret detaches one from society. Positive Psychotherapy An approach which brings together several of these methods is positive psychotherapy PPT [ ]. For example, Rachel Perkins notes [ ]: Mental health problems are not a full time job - we have lives to lead. Societal implications We therefore now raise some potential implications of positive psychology for the job of the mental health professional at the social, rather than individual, level.

Mental health professionals can improve social inclusion Supporting people using mental health services from accessing normal citizenship entitlements is a central i. Mental health professionals can increase societal well-being If a new knowledge base around well-being is integrated by mental health professionals into their practice, then this creates opportunities to influence social and political priorities.

Competing interests The author declares that they have no competing interests. Supplementary Material Additional file 1: Operationalisation, definition and examples of three domains of mental health. Click here for file 59K, DOC. Additional file 2: Points of convergence between recovery in mental illness and positive psychology. Click here for file 43K, DOC.

References World Health Organization. Promoting Mental Health. Concepts, Emerging Evidence, Practice. Geneva: World Health Organization; New Horizons. Towards a shared vision for mental health. London: Department of Health; The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Clinical validation of the Quality of Life Inventory: A measure of life satisfaction for use in treatment planning and outcome assessment.

Psychological Assessment. Investigating axioms of the complete state model of health. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Recovery - an Alien Concept. Gloucester, Hansell; Recovery: the lived experience of rehabilitation. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal. Health care reform based on an empowerment model of recovery by people with psychiatric disabilities.

Hospital and Community Psychiatry. Sense of self in recovery from severe mental illness. British Journal of Medical Psychology. Speaking our minds. London: Macmillan; Two accounts of mental distress. Restorying psychiatric disability: Learning from first person narratives. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. The experience of recovery from schizophrenia: towards an empirically-validated stage model. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. Kia Mauri Tau!

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Wellington: Mental Health Commission; Journeys of Despair, Journeys of Hope. Three forensic service users and their families talk about recovery. Journeys of Recovery. Stories of hope and recovery from long term mental health problems. Glasgow: Scottish Recovery Network; Routes to recovery. In: Recovery in mental illness. Broadening our Understanding of Wellness. Qualitative studies of recovery: what can we learn from the person?

The experience of recovery. Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation; From Goldfish Bowl to Ocean: personal accounts of mental illness and beyond. London: Chipmunkapublishing; From the Ashes of Experience. London: Whurr Publications; The process of recovery from schizophrenia. International Review of Psychiatry. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Skills. Personal recovery and mental illness.

A guide for mental health professionals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Schizophrenia Bulletin. Recovering from Illness or Recovering your Life? Scientific and consumer models of recovery in schizophrenia: concordance, contrasts, and implications. Recovery in Psychiatry. Psychiatr Bull. Social Inclusion and Recovery. Recovery from mental illness: the guiding vision of the mental health system in the s.

Innovations and Research. Health, Stress and Coping. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers; London: Constable; Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper and Row; Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist. Handbook of positive psychology. New York: Oxford University Press; Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life well lived. A primer in positive psychology. An introduction to positive psychology. Belmont CA: Thomson-Wadsworth; Positive psychology in practice.

Hoboken NJ: John Wiley; In: Handbook of Positive Psychology. Toward a Science of Mental health; pp. Promoting and Protecting Mental Health as Flourishing. Social well-being. Social Psychology Quarterly. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. The effectiveness of psychotherapy: The Consumer Reports study. Depressive symptoms erode self-esteem in severe mental illness: A three-wave, cross-lagged study. Journal of Disability Policy Studies. Recovery Competencies. Teaching Resource Kit.

Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York: Free Press; Conference presentation: Subjective Measures of Well-Being and the Science of Happiness: Historical origins and philosophical foundations.

Birmingham AL; Positive Psychology and Nussbaum's Capabilities Approach. Handbook of Positive Psychology.

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The Concept of Flow; pp. Lessons from a new science. London: Penguin; New Haven: Yale University Press; Personal goals and psychological growth: Testing an intervention to enhance goal attainment and personality integration. Journal of Personality. Psychiatric Services. Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy. New York: Guilford; What really matters: living a moral life amidst uncertainty and danger. Oxford: Oxford University Press; California: University of California Press; Spirituality and Religion in Recovery from Mental Illness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; Recovery and positive psychology: Parallel themes and potential synergies.

Thus, it takes character to believe in character, but that belief is always rewarded, often by material success, but always by the esteem it earns from those who matter. Character is established by conscientious adherence to moral values, not by lofty rhetoric or good intentions. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. We are born to them all, all of us, and when a person comes along with the necessary stimulus, then those qualities of the personality are awakened, so to speak, from their slumber.

What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift. He that does good becomes good; he that does evil becomes evil. By pure actions he becomes pure; by evil actions he becomes evil. Just as no worthy building can be erected on a weak foundation, so no lasting reputation worthy of respect can be built on a weak character.

Without character, all effort to attain dignity is superficial, and results are sure to be disappointing. Samsel Character is power. Washington Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

Only one thing endures and that is character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. Martin Luther King, Jr The habits of feeling, action and judgment that comprise good character depend on personal self-discipline and powerful aspiration to become a good person, all of which must be drawn from within. Albert Einstein I have a dream…that one day my four little children, will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skins, but by the content of their character. King, Jr. You choose your socks by their color, but your friends by their character.

Be grateful for the joy of life. Be glad for the privilege of work. Be thankful for the opportunity to give and serve. Good work is the great character-builder, the sweetener of life, the maker of destiny. Let the spirit of your work be right, and whether your task be great or small you will then have the satisfaction of knowing it is worthwhile. There is a secret self that has its own life, unpenetrated and unguessed.

It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, fix your thoughts on such things. Paul, Philippians It is with trifles, and when he is off guard, that a man best reveals his character. Arthur Schopenhauer In great matters men show themselves as they wish to be seen; in small matters as they are. Our character is our profile of habits and dispositions to act in certain ways.

Somerset Maugham Character is a diamond that scratches every other stone. Dwight Moody Character is revealed by how you act when you think no one is looking. It is the noblest possession of a man, constituting a rank in itself, and an estate in the general good-will; dignifying every station, and exalting every position in society.

It exercises a greater power than wealth, and secures all the honor without the jealousies of fame. It carries with it an influence which always tell; for it is the result of proved honor, rectitude, and consistency—qualities which, perhaps more than any other, command the general confidence and respect of mankind. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks.

Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long-continued process.

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It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful. Therefore, nothing is actually trivial in our lives. To grow in character development, pay attention to seemingly trivial matters. Someone who grows from each minor life event will eventually reach high levels of character perfection. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when flowers have withered.

Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. Spurgeon How important is the heart! It is there that character is formed. It alone holds the secrets of true success. Its treasures are priceless — but they can be stolen.

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Subjection to moods is the mark of a deteriorating morality. There is no baser servitude than that of the man whose caprices are his masters, and a nation composed of such men could not long preserve its liberties. We must not permit our disputes over thorny political questions to obscure the obligation we have to offer instruction to all our young people in the area in which we have, as a society, reached a consensus: namely, on the importance of good character, and some of its pervasive particulars.

Bennett You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them. Forbes The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act even when it has worked. Mencken, Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

We all have patterns of behavior or habits, and often we are quite unaware of them. When Socrates urged us to Know thyself, he clearly was directing us to come to know our habitual ways of responding to the world around us. Do your best no matter how trivial the task. Choose the difficult right over the easy wrong. Look out for the group before you look out for yourself. Judge others by their actions and not by their race or other characteristics. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master gardener of his soul, the director of his life.

He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands, with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought-forces and mind-elements operate in shaping his character, circumstances, and destiny. Dormann Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow strong or we grow weak, and at last some crisis shows us what we have become.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. Never spend your money before you have it. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will never be dear to you. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold. Never repent of having eaten too little. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. Always take things by their smooth handle.

When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry, count to one hundred. No one knows our own faults and tendencies better than we do ourselves, so that it is up to each one of us to keep the weeds out, and to keep all growth vigorous and fruitful. This is how character is built. Some little, unassuming, unobtrusive choice presents itself before us slyly and craftily, glib and insinuating, in the modest garb of innocence.

Then it is that you will be summoned to show the courage of adventurous youth. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. Watt The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth and have it found out by accident. Letterman As you live your values, your sense of identity, integrity, control, and inner-directedness will infuse you with both exhilaration and peace. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have — life itself.

To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful. This is simply the constant radiation of what man really is, not what he pretends to be. And if our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques the Personality Ethic rather than from our own inner core the Character Ethic , others will sense that duplicity. But none of them has done away with the need for character in the individual. Baruch Get to know two things about a man — how he earns his money and how he spends it — and you have the clue to his character, for you have a searchlight that shows up the inmost recesses of his soul.

You know all you need to know about his standards, his motives, his driving desires, his real religion.