Top Ten Virtues (Character Traits) Worth Developing

Good character comprises fortitude, integrity, courage, honesty, loyalty, and other notable virtues that support good behavior. We want a good character for ourselves and our children. Several positive traits define a person’s character and are not the same as personal morals or ethics. 


Why Build A Good Character

Warren Susman, the famous historian, states, “Character is so important it should be considered a vital component of an individual’s identity.”

This is even more important for young and old today, where political discord and cyberbullying are prevalent. Hence, cultivating virtue has become even more critical.

Developing your virtues will bring out the best in you and help:

  • Gain trust and respect from others.
  • Inspire and motivate others to build good character.
  • Improves confidence and self-respect.
  • Provide a core for making significant choices and decisions.
  • Display leadership attributes in both professional and personal endeavors.
  • Also, good character traits are the backbone of a healthy, functioning society.

While developing these traits is not without stress, successfully developing them can be among the most pleasant and satisfying endeavors.

People often fall into the trap of thinking their character is fixed and cannot be changed. They assume they are either good or bad. However, research has shown that character is malleable and new character can be developed over time with practice and devotion.

The following lists the top 10 character traits worth developing. Working on all ten at once might be quite impossible, so a good idea is to pick one of these qualities and get started.


This is the quality of being humble. The feeling or attitude that you are not more special or important than others. No man is an island, and humility entails accepting other individuals’ contributions in helping you accomplish all you have achieved. Acknowledging the role of your mentors, role models, and everyone else who’s helped you reach your goal. No one likes an arrogant overachiever. As C.S. Lewis says, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” 


This is the mental and emotional state of contentment and satisfaction drawn from being at ease with one’s situation. According to research, this is the state of accepting one’s condition and is a less tentative feeling of happiness. Bernard Williams said, “We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.”

However, a thin line separates lack of ambition from contentment. While contentment is an admirable trait to strive for, a lack of ambition can be dangerous. Ambition is necessary to succeed; however, over-ambition is unhealthy and leads to sadness. 


Successfully fulfilling whatever has been entrusted to you is an amazing character trait. Roy L. Smith says, “We are sure to get opportunities as we show ourselves capable of being trusted.” Being considered reliable and dependable, even when it requires some sacrifice, is a positive character trait worth developing.


This positive emotional feeling entails persisting in pursuing a challenging goal despite obstacles. Determination serves as motivation to achieve a goal, and it usually precedes the achievement of said goals. Everyone loves a determined person who works steadily to achieve their goals; a lack of determination is a depressing attitude. In fact, as Tommy Lasorda said, “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” 


Author Joyce Meyer said, “Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” This character trait is among the most neglected in today’s fast-paced world. This involves waiting for the right things to happen at the right time. It is knowing and having faith that it will all work out while you are waiting. It is not being restless but the willingness to delay satisfaction, and it’s among the top character traits worth developing. (Especially as a parent.) 


Truthfulness and honesty with others and yourself are good indicators of a responsible individual. Thomas Jefferson said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Apart from being respected by others, an honest individual has better odds of being genuinely happy and living a long life when compared to a cheat or swindler. 

Among the leading reasons for being dishonest is the fear of consequences. This can be overcome by having the courage to face the consequences of our actions, however dreadful they might be. 


This is the willingness and ability to confront uncertainty, danger, intimidation, pain, or agony despite fear. As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” This is a good character trait worth developing as it makes honesty and finding focus much easier. Once courageous, you’ll face the unknown and explore the world rather than be held back by fear. 


Nelson Mandela said, “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” According to research, this is a desirable and admirable character trait, especially when placed alongside the alternative of being ruthless and indifferent. This is especially important in today’s world, where the media has created a generation of indifferent and numbed people by constantly distributing gory images and offensive photos. The ability to maintain a compassionate streak is vital. 


This is the quality of adjusting to new situations and conditions. Alice Duer Miller said, “The strongest will is the will that knows how to bend.”  While there are times when standing your ground and being rigid has its benefits, it more often than not gets in the way of progress. This trait entails being resilient enough to adjust and adapt to new information and situations rather than being rigid. Or, as Dolly Parton said, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” 


While the above character traits are important and worth developing, self-discipline helps ensure you know when to defend such traits and are not thrust into crisis by defending such traits. This is the ability to think, learn, absorb, and know when to act on strong impulses. Gary Ryan Blair put it well when he said, “Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It requires you to connect today’s action to tomorrow’s results. There’s a season for sowing, a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you know which is which.” 

Developing these 10 or any of the 100 Virtues is not about putting them into us. It is about drawing them out of ourselves and our children. They are already there waiting to be discovered, cultivated, and balanced with other virtues.


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