“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus
character – that is the goal of true education”.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is my belief that all of our lives are driven by an innate power that most of us can’t name and don’t understand. It defines who we are, why we do what we do and how successful we may become. It may even decide who becomes our life long partner, what our own children make of their lives and even feature in the stories that get told about us at our funerals.
Not only has interest in this subject been re-ignited following world events which have seen this ‘invisible thing’ we often unconsciously talk about and hold dear being faded, but because of its timeless nature which transcends time, religion and cultures. This is about the power of something in all us – our character.
The story of character, how it can improve the lives of our children, how our organisations can be run for the better, is a complex but vital one, an opportunity to unlock some of the mystery around the subject. Yet talking about different virtues, the building blocks of good character, which has been done by ancient philosophers, countless academics and leaders in the field of character education, is not enough to change our behaviour.
I often use the analogy of learning to swim by reading the bestselling book ‘a beginners guide to swimming’ (I made this title up by the way!). Can you imagine reading the manual from front to back, then proceed to jump into the deep end! Knowledge on its own is of no use unless we have the opportunity to practice and improve – we must put virtue into practice. But how you do this has eluded many of the books and speakers on this very subject? There has to be an explicit and intentional connection between what virtue is and how this translates into our everyday behaviours – our very habits as Aristotle would say.
Never has there been a time in our history that it has been more important to develop and nurture the next generation of leaders. Character education is not an immediate salve for all of the world’s ills – political uncertainty, economic pressures, environmental challenges to name just a few – but the transformation from school-as-exam-factory to school-as-social-service, to seeing our schools as vital cogs in society’s wheels, helping turn out children of good character, not just good grades, could have no stronger symbol than this.
If we want a fairer, more just, more productive society, we now need to focus more on what Doctor Martin Luther King called the ‘content of our character’.
CHARACTER TO THE POWER 6
The Power of Character unlocks the secrets behind
Drawing together over five decades of scientific research from the fields of cognitive psychology in human motivation, decision making, optimism, cognitive control and mindset, the book exposes what the science has proven to work and how this can translate into every aspect of our lives, from ourselves, our families, schools and businesses through Six Elements to flourishing.
Going deep in the structural architecture of human decision making and our deep rooted intrinsic desires, The Power of Character explores practical methods for how we can embed the necessary attitudes, social norms and behaviours essential to succeed in all areas of life, providing for the first time a comprehensive guide to developing self-determining people educated, equipped and empowered to realise their true potential.
THE SIX ELEMENTS
How to identify the values specific to your own beliefs, the beliefs of your family, business or other organisation. How to then align these to universal virtues.
How to shape positive attitudes inside your family, business or other organisation. How to get people to know what the good thing is in any given situation.
How to identify what social norms are needed in your specific circumstance. How to create these social norms through close attendance to the culture of your family, business or other organisation.
How to give people self-efficacy and that sense of personal leadership. How to apply the principles of empowerment in your organisation to unleash leadership potential at all levels.
How to create an environment in which your intentions become your habits.
And, finally, how to create habits for life, which people will still enact when nobody else is watching, and when peer pressure to take the opposite path is strong.
The Power of Character: Lessons from the Frontline