What is Character? - Essay Sample

6 pages
1376 words
Boston College
Type of paper: 
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The character is a human behavior that is articulated through constant virtue and values that are deep-rooted in a person, whose firmness is established in a problematic situation. It can also be referred to as a consistent way of thinking and express certain behaviors even at a subconscious level. If one fails to show the consistency of virtue in a pressurizing situation, then that persons true nature becomes clear to everybody. One may seem good in normal day to day situations, but when faced with a tough circumstance, his/her true colors show through contrasting behavior that was not noticeable before (Wright 27). Ones true character is revealed, and if ones true nature does not resemble ones normal daily actions then, they are termed as hypocrites.

For one to establish his or her true character, one has to go through character transformation. Character transformation is the process by which one truly realizes who he/she is. It cements a persons behavior and thoughts. The transformation process takes place in three stages which revolve around the achievements of certain goals (Wright 33). First one has to identify a certain goal. Secondly, one then needs to act through right actions to achieve that particular goal. Lastly one has to make it a habit of doing those right actions until they become a part of ones life. In the end, if one follows the stages of transformation, the goal set will be achieved while a new character will be revealed.

Biblical and Greek Moral Framework

In Wrights book, After You Believe he vividly explains the biblical framework and the Greek moral framework. The two frameworks are similar in many ways for example in the transformation process which takes place in three stages, but he also draws a clear distinction between the two (Wright 33). First in the Greek framework, attaining virtues like temperance, justice, courage, and prudence helps one to reach eudaimonia, which is Greek for an ideal of a flourishing human being. However, in the biblical framework, one is said to have an ideal flourishing life by not only possessing all the right virtues but also securing a place in the Kingdom of heaven. According to Wright, if one has accepted the glory of God, he/she belongs to the kingdom of heaven. In the Greek moral framework, virtues such as kindness, love, humility, and forgiveness are termed as inferior qualities while courage, justice, and prudence take the lead (Wright 36). In the biblical aspect of moral framework, virtues like love, kindness, and forgiveness are the most emphasized by Jesus and his disciples.


Wright says in his book that after salvation, a believers next big goal is the transformation of character. If a believer has accepted the salvation of The Lord, he or she ought to live up to the biblical virtues and character (Wright 33). Therefore, to attain this goal one has to go through the transformation process and to achieve it one will require self-discipline. Wrights emphasis in self-discipline in his book and also states that for one to have a change of behavior and heart which is the ultimate transformation, it requires the intervention of the Holy Spirit. From a biblical point of view, Wright is right, for one to make major transformations, the Holy Spirit has to intervene. However, if character transformation is the ultimate goal for a believer then what differentiates a believer and a morally upright person who possess both biblical and Greek morals?

Kouzes and Posner Leadership Model and Maxwell Reflections

The Kouzes and Posner leadership model contains five practices through which one can be a great leader. Crafting a way for other people to follow through custom-made values is the first exemplary leadership practice. The second practice is inspiring a shared vision while the third one is challenging the normal process of doing things by pioneering vision. It is important for a leader to involve others in decision making and build trust with them, this according to Kouzer and Posner is the fourth practice of great leadership. The final practice is recognizing other peoples contributions to the vision (Kouzes and Posner 42). In Maxwells reflections, he mainly emphasizes in the principle of working on oneself before working on others. Before a leader can lead people, he first ought to know where he is going. Working on ones self-means improving ones self into a better leader (Maxwell 51). For one to implement change in other peoples lives, they have to embrace the change themselves. Leaders are servants and not demigods; therefore, they should serve the people righteously and diligently and not take advantage of the people they ought to be serving.

Moral Flexibility

In explaining moral flexibility, Badaracco uses a fictional character in Africas best-selling author Chinua Achebes book Things Fall Apart.' The fictional character is called Okonkwo who is a chief tribal leader of Umuofia. Okonkwo is depicted as a man of great strength, perseverance, and courage. In the story, Okonkwo fends for his family because his father is a lazy man full in debt. Okonkwo is a shamed of his father and quickly rises from his peasant status to a chief who strongly upholds the traditions of his community. Okonkwos failure shows his true character (Badaracco 34). First, he beats one of his wives and denies it during the Week of Peace (Badaracco 40). Then later in the story, Okonkwo adopts a boy he found during tribal wars and raised him to be his own. It is even said that he loved the foreign boy more than he loved his son. However, Okonkwo was asked to show his allegiance to his community by killing the foreign boy whom he had come to view as a son. Due to the pressurizing situation, he killed the innocent boy. Towards the end of the story, Okonkwo went into exile because his community was embracing the western civilization and finally he killed himself.

Moral flexibility means being able to adjust ones beliefs depending on the situation. It is having a change of heart and mind regarding the greater good of the society. As a leader, one should have a deep-rooted belief system but should also embrace change and views of others. Badaraccos moral code surpass personal beliefs and convictions and adapts to the conviction and needs of the community (Badaracco 34). There is a difference between Badaraccos moral flexibility and the integrity of values expressed by Kouzes/Posner and Maxwell model. In Badaraccos moral flexibility, a persons situation determines the how flexible one morals are. As the environment is, so is ones ability to change and adapt to the new morals. The Kouzes integrity of values is based on already established values which are determined by ones convictions that depend on fixed doctrines. If Okonkwo would have used both codes of morals, perhaps his story would have ended in a different manner.

Instead of focusing on one moral code, a person should strike a balance between flexibility and strictly follow ones conviction. It is important to stand firm on ones own beliefs especially if they are right. However, one should also be able to adjust the belief system as time passes by. For example, in the Bible, if Jesus strictly followed the code of beliefs that had been laid down by the Jews he would not have dined with sinners. If Jesus was so held bent on following the Jewish laws, he would not have visited the tax collectors home and shared a meal with him. He could have also allowed the adulterous woman be stoned to death. Instead, He told them not to stone her because they too were sinners. Christians sin all the time yet God who can flood the earth and rain fire on them does not because He is all merciful. Christians should try to embrace that in their lives.


Work Cited

Badaracco, Joseph. Question of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership Through Literature. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006. Print.

Kouzes, James M., Barry Z. Posner, John C. Maxwell, David McAllister-Wilson, Patrick

Lencioni, Nancy Ortberg, and Ken Blanchard. Christian Reflections on the Leadership

Challenge. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004.

Maxwell, John. The Right to Lead. 1st ed. New York: Thomas Nelson, 2010. Print.

Wright, N. T. After You Believe. New York: Harper, 2010. Print.



Have the same topic and dont`t know what to write?
We can write a custom paper on any topic you need.

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the collegeessaywriter.net website, please click below to request its removal: