What Is Character?

This post was originally published on Young Men’s Nation


Character, as we define it at Young Men’s Nation, means:

Maximizing your potential while ensuring that you, and the world around you, are both caring and fair.

That phrase covers a lot; more than most men will be able to even achieve in one lifetime. It’s not easy to pull off all of these things, but that’s why this site exists: To help you get there, by showing you why it’s better to exhibit character, even though it’s really hard and few people even try.

“Maximizing your potential” basically means going after what you want without apology or hesitation. Notice here how easy it could be to do this without regard for others or for improving the world. Many people selfishly pursue their desires, but it never turns out well. Stick around here to learn more about exactly why. But you’re going to have to trust us here for now. If you do these three things:

1. Going after what you want, while
2. being caring and fair, and
3. attempt to make the world more caring and fair…

…then you are absolutely a man of character, and you’re really, really rare. And being rare very often leads to opportunities that most people aren’t offered, which is the basis for all lasting professional success.

These three things, in total, is what we’d call “doing the right thing.” If you can do this consistently over time and in every context, you’re what many people would call honorable.

And that’s the ultimate goal here: to be honorable, and develop a reputation amongst others for being so. Once that happens, your life will begin to change, but in ways you’re probably not thinking of now.

We’re not talking about having girls hanging all over you (although going for what you want in life while being caring and fair will absolutely get you genuine attention from the right kind of girls).

We’re also not talking about having your own private jet and a vodka named after you (although we’ll consistently argue at YMN that doing these three things consistently in your professional life will create the kind of long-term trust in others that authentic business success is based on).

No, at YMN, to live a “happy life” is to be:

1. Excited to wake up in the morning,
2. Content and relaxed throughout the day, and
3. At peace with who you are and what you’re doing when you go to sleep at night.

And the only way to get to that kind of life is to maximize your potential while ensuring that you, and the world around you, are both caring and fair.

Don’t believe the hype and the mainstream celebrity culture trying to tell you otherwise. Fame and notoriety will eat your soul and pass you by in a blink of an eye if you don’t ground yourself in deeper principles like we’re talking about here. The celebrities who last eventually realize this, or embodied these things from the get-go.


Also published on Medium.

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