graphic © eminentlyquotable.com | photo – Publicdomainpictures.net
“It takes real character to do what’s right when no one else is doing it.”
A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that people are happier when they do the right thing. In a study named Social Capital and Well-Being in Times of Crisis, Helliwall et al. looked at a huge amount of data concerning social capital (community working together) and happiness across 255 metropolitan areas in the US. They arrived with the conclusion that communities that pull together in times of crisis are happier than otherwise equivalent communities.
“Sure, communities that do the right thing are happier, but what do I get from doing the right thing ALONE?”
Doing the right thing when no one else is doing it reveals a person’s real character. Alex Lickerman, M.D., of Psychology Today, defines character as traits that reveal themselves on specific and uncommon circumstances. As opposed to personality traits, character traits are based on beliefs and not on heredity.
Here’s why it matters: People make the common mistake of judging a person only through their personality or accomplishment, not through their character. Unfortunately, a person’s real character is only revealed in the midst of chaos. You’ll only realize your real character when you’re faced with a difficult situation. Likewise, you’ll only discover your friend’s real character once he/she has decided whether or not to betray you.
On the bright side, character is malleable. You can achieve to be a better person through doing the right thing even if no one is watching, or worse, if no one else is doing it.