My re-transcription of Jim Rohn's conclusion to Cultivating an Unshakable Character:
In a sense , when committing to one of the traits below you're making an investment. If you start living in a way that runs counter to those traits you loose an investment. No one likes to lose an investment, once that starts to happen it's not long before you're broke.
These are the essential traits of an Unshakable Character:
Courage - It's not the absence of fear, but the presence of fear for the right reason at the right time and of the right thing. We should not fear failure per se, but fear failure to do our best, fear failure to live up to the ideals we set up for ourselves. Embrace your fear, take it inside yourself, use it as a foundation for true courage.
Honesty and Integrity - Telling the truth can be painful just as paying a debt can be painful. There is a temptation to hedge and equivocate, just like temptation to run up a large balance on a credit card. But credit buying doesn't make long term sense, either in finance or ethics. Interest charges will eat you up, in the first case it's "just" your bank balance that gets destroyed, in the second case it's your soul that gets eaten up.
Perseverance - Reserve of energy is the mark of strong character. Successful people manage to reach down into themselves for the strength to overcome any challenge, whether internal or external.
Goals - Important as a net or a baseline, or the ability to keep score is important in tennis, you may become an excellent player without knowing them but it's not likely, anyway how will you know?
Responsibility - Most people will do almost anything to avoid it. Individuals who seek out responsibility, those who want the ball when the game is on the line, can gain material and spiritual rewards that naturally flow from strong character and the glory that comes with leadership.
Wisdom - Desire for it can never be satisfied, and why that very impossibility makes wisdom even more desirable to those who truly love it.
Act wisely - Example of Socrates and Salomon, united in their ability to act wisely. Why Socrates' seemingly foolish decision to die unnecessarily was really the fullest expression of his doctrine that Wisdom is knowing thyself.
Humor - Ability to laugh at oneself as evidence of trustworthiness and fundamental integrity. But humor must be handled carefully, the difference between saying something funny and being funny oneself should never be forgotten.
Flexibility - Strength without rigidity, recognizing what can be controlled and what is beyond our control, and behaving accordingly. It means playing the cards that we're dealt as best we can, and resisting the temptation to think that the deck is stacked against us.
Patience - Helps us to cope with unpredictability of fate, but allows to turn into the material of success. Quality that let's us enlist time as an ally, instead of fighting hopelessly against it as an adversary. It's the hallmark of true maturity, its presence distinguishes the strong character from the weak and the mature adult from from unfinished, unformed child whether he's 3 or 33.
Confidence - Intrinsic of character, and emotional commodity to be invested in others. Ability to inspire trust, but can only be achieved by trusting, both in yourself and in the people you meet. Your belief in yourself is strong enough so that the world itself seems safe and oriented towards your success. It's one aspect of strong character that can literally change the way we perceive reality.
Good health - Springs from wise choices. It's neither a religion diet exercise program, number of calories that we've consumed in a 24 hour period, rather it expresses an awareness of who we are and how we should live in the most fundamental sense.
Achievement - Identifies a strong character the same way blossoming fruit identifies a healthy tree.