One of the best definitions for "character" which I've ever come across is this: "Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking.”
In their new book, Walk the Talk, Eric Harvey and Steve Ventura offer a longer definition. They say that one of the keys to character is commitment. Here's what the authors wrote:
Think of someone you know who is "a person of good character." Lock his or her image in your mind. Now take a moment to reflect on the things this person says and does...the personal characteristics that make him or her a role model for you.
What comes to mind? What do you see?
Chances are that high on the list of your role model's qualities is COMMITMENT - the unwavering dedication to being a good family member and friend...to doing his or her best at work and away from the job...to doing what's right, noble, and decent.
Committed people like your role model just seem to have their heads and hearts in the right place. They keep their priorities straight. They stay focused on what's important. They know, inherently, that what they believe must drive how they behave - and how they behave ultimately determines the character they possess, the reputation they enjoy, and the legacy they leave.
Abraham Lincoln had this to say about commitment: "COMMITMENT is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism."
The world renowned pianist, Van Cliburn, after one of his magnificent concerts was approached by an admirer who had been in the audience. The emotional fan grasped Cliburn's hand and said, "I would give my life to be able to play the piano like that." The pianist smiled and replied..."I DID."