"In the end, it is always character that most moves history, for good or ill." (John McCain)
There's a reason so many folks around the US, and even around the world, are paying tribute to John McCain this week (even Vietnam): He seemed to be a man of high character.
Character is tough to define. It's got to be a confusing word for ESL folks, for it can possibly have two meanings: a participant in a story, or a description of someone's conduct, temperament, and attitude.
Senator John McCain occupied both definitions very well. He was certainly a character in an amazing story of survival and service, and he cared very deeply about how he conducted himself, represented his positions, and related to others. Here are some descriptions:
He was able to disagree without automatically becoming disagreeable.
He strived to put his personal values before his party alignment.
He recognized that how you conduct yourself personally is more important that whatever end you're trying to accomplish.
Let's forget for a second how such a high character compares with others in leadership today. Let's think about something far more practical:
How does your own character compare? What would people say about your conduct, temperament, and attitude? Especially when you're in conflict?
You're the primary character in your own story. Can you also claim to be quite a character?