In Aristotle’s best known work, Nicomachean Ethics, he suggests that our behaviour is not directed by our character, but rather the sum of our behaviour defines our character: “these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions”. In other words, we are what we regularly do. If you repeatedly act with kindness, you are considered by others to be a kind person. If you are regularly a little loose with the truth, you are a dishonest person.
Similarly, the lens on character within Positive Psychology is focussed on lived behaviours. Character does not reside within us, it is demonstrated by us. These patterns of behaviour are habitual, and like any habit, they can be changed or reinforced.
As an educator, colleague, friend, partner, how do you repeatedly behave? What is it that you tend to do every day, every time?
Ultimately, this is who you are.
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