“Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.”
A major shift is underway. Over the last twenty years we have begun to realize that character is a much a form of intelligence as intellectual ability. For many years, intelligence has been measured by gauging an individual’s intellectual capacity, often referring to a person’s intelligence quotient or IQ. However, we’re learning that a person’s strength of character, their character quotient, or as I like to call it, their CQ, may contribute to feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment, more so than IQ.
To discover how character contributes to a fuller life, let’s revisit the four pillars of character from my book: “Knowing Me Knowing You… a guide to proactive people skills”.
Pillar One… Self-Aware
Three of the values highlighted in my book – open-mindedness, humility, and perspective – are particularly important to the development of self-awareness. These values provide a compass by which to navigate the course of our daily lives. These character traits give us a broader view, empower us with choices and help us set realistic goals.
Pillar Two… Other Aware
When we’re other aware, we show empathy for others around us. The values of fairness, forgiveness and kindness guide our actions with others. They inform our decisions, helping us know what to do and what not to do, when to say yes and when to say no. Unlike the traditional view of intelligence, charter intelligence helps us to see the world through another’s eyes.
Pillar Three… Self-Motivated
Strength of character relies on our ability to take responsibility and face challenges. Values such as persistence, integrity, and spirituality support us in these areas. Persistence gives us the strength and motivation to achieve our goals. Spirituality lifts us to higher ground, empowering us to act in accordance with our beliefs. Integrity demands honesty in our words and actions.
Pillar Four… Other-Motivated
Strength of character (our CQ) grants us the ability to inspire and empower others. Hope. leadership, and love are all values that lift others to new heights. These values change lives in ways that academic smarts simply cannot!
Character strength, acquired by living out our values, ultimately accounts for our best practices. That’s how it can eclipse our IQ when we measure our life not by what we know but by how fulfilled and focued we become and who we impact.