When times are good, it’s easy to display the positive qualities that define you. Your true character however, always shows through when times aren’t so good.

Good character takes years to develop and be recognized as genuine. But it can disappear in an instant. That’s why it’s so important to guard your exceptional character and nurture it always.

Here are nine qualities that exhibit good character.

1. Living a life of integrity. There is no more important personality trait than integrity, especially for those who lead. It is being consistent in what you say and what you do. It’s doing the right thing, even when it may not be popular.

2. Telling the truth. Where integrity is doing the right thing, honesty is saying the right thing. When you routinely tell the truth you don’t have to concern yourself with remembering lies. The only negative reaction resulting from honesty is that it can sometimes hurt.

3. Being loyal. Loyalty to a cause is admirable, but being loyal to those close to you is essential to exhibiting good character. When someone has earned your loyalty, you will support them in whatever way you can. And loyalty is a character trait that is always returned.

4. Willing to sacrifice. There are many ways to sacrifice, so that you can relate better to others. Time, salary, rewards and perks are just some of the things that self-sacrificing people will relinquish, and come alongside those they surround themselves with. Sacrifice is an admirable quality of a great leader.

5. Being accountable. Accountability isn’t a sign of weakness; instead, it shows humility and character. When you take responsibility for your words and actions, you show others that you’re serious about doing things right, and you value their input.

6. Exercising self-control. Controlling your emotions in front of others is relevant, but is only a small part of self-control. It’s also about making the right choices, especially when they may not benefit you as much as other options. It’s about doing what needs to be done and refraining from doing the wrong things.

7. Accepting outcomes. Sometimes you don’t get the conclusions you want. A person with good character will accept the end result. That’s not to say that you have to like it; you will simply have to work harder the next time to achieve the desired outcome.

8. Valuing commitment. When you recognize the hard work and effort that people put into a project and then suitably reward them, even if it’s only a pat on the back, their stature and confidence level will increase dramatically. So will yours.

9. Practicing the Golden Rule. You can never go wrong by treating other people the way you would like to be treated. Talk to others the way you would like them to talk to you. It’s a simple concept really, yet there are too many people wanting to take and not give.

It doesn’t matter how much wealth, power or fame you have accumulated in your life. What you will be remembered for is your good or bad character.

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