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The Personality & Character Ethics

Much of the success literature of the past 50 years was superficial. It was filled with social image consciousness, techniques and quick fixes - with social band-aids and aspirin that addressed acute problems and sometimes even appeared to solve them temporarily, but left the underlying chronic problem untouched to fester and resurface time and again.

In stark contrast, almost all the literature in the first 150 years focussed on what could be called the CHARACTER ETHIC as the foundation of success - things like integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule.

The Charater Ethic taught that there are basic principles of effective living, and that people can only experience true success and enduring happiness as they learn and integrate these principles into their basic character. Shortly after World War 1 the basic view of success shifted from the Character Ethic to the PERSONALITY ETHIC. Success became more a function of personality, of public image, of attitudes and behaviours, skills and techniques, that lubricate the processes of human interaction. Essentially it took two paths: one was human and public relations techniques, and the other was positive mental attitude (PMA).

Other parts of the personality approach were clearly manipulative, even deceptive, encouraging people to use techniques to get other people to like them, or to fake interest in the hobbies of others to get out of them what they wanted, or to use the 'power look,' or to intimidate their way through life. Some of this literature acknowledged character as an ingredient of success, but did not recognize it as foundational and catalytic. Reference to the Character Ethic became mostly lip service; the basic thrust was quick-fix influence techniques, power strategies, communication skills, and positive attitudes.

Social comparison motives were out of harmony with deeper values and lead to conditional love and lessened self worth.

We must loosen our old perceptions and develop value-based motives. We can't try to manipulate people into an acceptable social mold. Let each person develop his own character, identity, individuality, seperateness, and worth. This builds confidence.

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