How Good Thoughts and Good Acts Mold Good Business Character

Business success hinges on strong character, embodying morals and attitudes that enhance well-being. This article explores how positivity shapes business character.

In today’s fast-paced and competitive business world, character plays a crucial role in determining success. Why? Because having a good business character is not just a set of moral and ethical principles; it also encompasses a set of attitudes, behaviors, and habits that contribute to the overall well-being of both individuals and organizations. In this article, we will explore how good thoughts and good acts can mold good business character, drawing from research in psychology, neuroscience, management, and my own thoughts and conclusions.

Good Thoughts: The Foundation of Good Business Character

Good thoughts serve as the foundation for good business character.

They enable individuals to engage in positive self-affirmations and self-talk, which in turn build confidence and promote self-esteem (Dweck, 2006). As we have these types of positive thoughts we will be less like to have thoughts about how others are out there trying to take advantage, manipulate, or deceive us in some way. This will allow us to build honest and long-lasting relationships and partnerships with individuals and companies we want to work with and whom we can trust and believe in.

The following are some key aspects of good thoughts that contribute to building good business character:

  1. Growth Mindset: People with a growth mindset believe that their abilities and character can be developed through hard work, effort, and learning (Dweck, 2006). These individuals view challenges as opportunities for growth, embrace failures as part of the learning process, and persist in the face of obstacles and adversity. As a result, they tend to have greater motivation, higher levels of resilience, and better overall well-being and are much more pleasant to work with on a day-to-day basis.
  2. Gratitude: Research by Emmons and McCullough (2003) has shown that gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. By regularly practicing gratitude, individuals can cultivate a more optimistic outlook on life, which can contribute to their personal and professional success. Therefore, sharing with a cohort, colleague, or partner that you are grateful for them, for their insights on that business deal, for their honesty, and for their hard work, will help them be grateful for what you contribute to the team or the partnership.
  3. Empathy: Empathy and understanding can promote compassion, decrease aggression, and foster better relationships (Goleman, 2005). In the business world, empathy can help create more harmonious and collaborative work environments, leading to increased productivity and employee satisfaction. I believe many managers have not developed sufficient empathy towards those they manage, they have a hard time understanding challenges whether at work or at home and if they just offered a little compassion through empathy, they would probably see the work of their employees increase even though the difficult times their employee is going through.

Good Acts: Putting Good Thoughts into Practice

Good acts are the practical manifestation of good thoughts.

By engaging in good acts, individuals can demonstrate their good business character and cultivate positive habits that contribute to their personal and professional success. I believe that most people in the world are good, honest, and hard-working people and that they want to do the right thing. If you believe that is true, then you will want to ‘do’ good things to and from them, and just look at them as a stepping stone in your career without any care or understanding of them as individuals. The following are some key aspects of good acts that can help mold good business character:

  1. Kindness: Performing acts of kindness can promote happiness, build relationships, and foster a sense of community (Lyubomirsky, 2007). Simply sending an email of encouragement, expressing excitement for a project they completed, or helping them know their importance to you and the team can go a long way to building a strong team. In the workplace, acts of kindness can create a more positive and supportive atmosphere, which can enhance employee well-being and organizational performance.
  2. Honesty: Honesty promotes trust, respect, and integrity (Covey, 2004). Not letting things fester does no good to those involved. Going straight to a co-worker and expressing your thoughts, ideas, and even concerns can help build and strengthen comradery and build a tight-knit team to perform at an even higher level of efficiency. In business, honesty can help build strong relationships with customers, employees, and partners, leading to increased trust and long-term success.
  3. Responsibility: Taking responsibility for one’s actions can build self-esteem, increase accountability, and demonstrate maturity (Covey, 2004). Have you ever made a mistake at work? I have countless times. Those times when I have taken full responsibility for my actions showed my team that I was willing to address my weaknesses which helped me figure out how to do an even better job the next time. In the workplace, responsible employees are more likely to be trusted with important tasks and responsibilities, leading to increased opportunities for growth and advancement.

Mindfulness: Cultivating Presence, Acceptance, and Compassion

Mindfulness practices can help individuals cultivate presence, acceptance, and compassion, all of which are essential for developing good business character.

By practicing mindfulness, individuals can become more aware of their thoughts, emotions, and actions, allowing them to make more conscious choices and engage in more authentic and constructive behaviors (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).

“I often tell my kids to ‘take a quick break’ when their emotions are high or they start getting upset at a sibling or their mom or me. When they can just sit and ponder what is going on, think about why they are upset, and then come back to the conversation aware of their thoughts and feelings, they cease to be upset and can talk constructively. Those are great times. I wish I could say that happens every time something like that happens (it does not) but when it does, our conversations are much easier and we find a solution much faster.” – Sam Brand, 2023

The following are some key aspects of mindfulness that can contribute to good business character:

  1. Presence: Practicing mindfulness can help bring focus and attention to the present moment, reducing stress and anxiety (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Being aware of your surroundings, influences, and atmosphere allows you to control your thoughts much more effectively. In the workplace, presence can enhance productivity, creativity, and decision-making so make your cubical, office, or desk more conducive to helping you be in the moment to do your job effectively.
  2. Acceptance: Accepting things as they are can promote peace of mind, reduce stress, and foster resilience (Hanson, 2011). There are many things that we can change in our life, at work, and within our homes, but there are also things that we cannot change and are out of our control. Allowing our minds to accept that mind frame allows us to adapt to changing circumstances and navigate challenges with grace and flexibility.
  3. Compassion: Cultivating compassion for others can promote empathy and understanding, reducing aggression and increasing happiness (Neff, 2011). Noticing that a co-worker is having a bad day and going to them and telling them that you are there for them, or that you believe in their ability to overcome the situation can go a long way in terms of their mental health. In the workplace, compassionate leaders and employees can create more supportive and inclusive environments, leading to improved employee satisfaction and retention.

Generosity: Giving, Forgiving, and Demonstrating Graciousness

Generosity is another key component of a good business character.

By practicing generosity in various forms, individuals can enhance their relationships, personal well-being, and professional success. The following are some key aspects of generosity that can contribute to good business character:

  1. Giving: Sharing resources, time, or talents can increase happiness and build relationships (Dunn, Aknin, & Norton, 2008). If you are noticing a co-worker is struggling with a certain task, see what you can to do help them. There are many times I have to rely on the expertise of others I work with to get a project completed, it helps me feel part of the team. In the workplace, generous employees can foster a sense of teamwork and collaboration, leading to improved organizational performance.
  2. Forgiveness: Forgiving others can reduce stress and increase well-being (Worthington, Witvliet, Pietrini, & Miller, 2007). Has someone done you wrong at work? Not saying that everything should be ‘peaches and cream’ but forgiving others for mistakes can go a long way to strengthen your team. Sometimes, it’s worth being the one that initiates the forgiveness process. In the business world, forgiveness can promote healthier and more productive working relationships by resolving conflicts and facilitating reconciliation.
  3. Graciousness: Demonstrating graciousness and humility can promote respect and appreciation for others (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). I’m not talking about awards or certificates, I am talking about the day-to-day things that happen. Let’s say a Customer Service Rep gets a craze awesome review from a customer after they helped them resolve a problem. I would say that as a leader that employee would benefit 1,000% from knowing that their work was recognized and would inspire loyalty and trust among their other employees, leading to increased engagement and commitment.

Respect: Cultivating Tolerance, Empathy, and Appreciation

Respect is a crucial aspect of a good business character.

By cultivating respect for others, individuals can foster understanding, promote peace, and build strong relationships. I don’t mean ‘demanded’ respect that oftentimes leaders create to puff up their own egos. I am talking about the ‘merited respect’ that comes from being an honest, engaging, friendly, and helpful leader. The kind that employees talk to their family and friends about because they love working for “Joe” because he respects them and all of their teammates and allows them to do their job the best way they’ve been trained. The following are some key aspects of respect that can contribute to good business character:

  1. Tolerance: Respecting the beliefs, opinions, and values of others can foster understanding and promote peace (Galtung, 1996). As a leader, are you always right? I sure hope you don’t think so. Many times, some of the best ideas can come from those you work with that trust you and believe in you. In the workplace, tolerance can create more inclusive and diverse working environments, leading to increased creativity and innovation from everyone.
  2. Empathy: As previously discussed, empathy and understanding can promote compassion, decrease aggression, and foster better relationships (Goleman, 2005). Respecting others allows you to be empathetic toward the challenges others at work are going through. Which leads to a more honest, understanding team that is looking for the success of everyone.
  3. Appreciation: Appreciating others can promote happiness and build stronger relationships (Fredrickson, 2004). In the business world, expressing appreciation for employees’ contributions can boost morale, engagement, productivity, and reliability.

Perseverance: Demonstrating Determination, Hard Work, and Resilience

Perseverance is an essential quality for building good business character.

By demonstrating determination, hard work, and resilience, individuals can overcome challenges and achieve their goals. They are not distracted by something else that lands on their plate, they are committed to achieving their goals and looking for ways to accomplish them. The following are some key aspects of perseverance that can contribute to good business character:

  1. Determination: Having determination and not giving up in the face of adversity can increase self-esteem and build character (Duckworth, 2016). Making sure that you accomplish your tasks is crucial in the workplace so others can depend on you for projects, team tasks, and team goals. In the workplace, determined employees are more likely to achieve their goals and contribute to the success of the organization.
  2. Hard work: Consistent hard work and dedication can demonstrate discipline and increase personal satisfaction (Duckworth, 2016). I always think about how early in my career I wasn’t really willing to ‘put the time in’ to my jobs, I got complacent and decided that what I was doing was ‘good enough.’ I landed myself unemployed, looking for another job, and so many challenges at home because I wasn’t willing to put the time in to do a great job. In the business world, hardworking employees are more likely to be recognized for their contributions and advance in their careers which usually comes with an increased salary or compensation package.
  3. Resilience: Developing resilience can increase well-being, foster a growth mindset, and promote success (Reivich & Shatté, 2002). I remember working for a mortgage broker in Utah and they had us working nights so we could call on leads we’d gotten that week. I remember calling for hours and hours and closing SO many deals because I was determined and resilient in my efforts to make commissions for myself, my family, and the company I worked for. In the workplace, resilient employees can adapt to challenges and setbacks, contributing to the overall stability and success of the organization.

Integrity: Upholding Honesty, Authenticity, and Consistency

Integrity is a core aspect of a good business character.

By upholding honesty, authenticity, and consistency, individuals can demonstrate strong moral principles and gain the trust and respect of others. You will be held in high regard when those around you can count on your integrity to make good business decisions because you can be trusted and counted on. The following are some key aspects of integrity that can contribute to good business character:

  1. Honesty: As previously mentioned, honesty promotes trust, respect, and integrity (Covey, 2004). Honesty is the best policy. However, that doesn’t mean you have to ‘tell’ everything to everyone. You need to be honest with those you are in discussions with, those you are negotiating with, and those you are building relationships with, but it doesn’t require you to share your strategic business decisions. You should never lie in business, it will always backfire on you. Always.
  2. Authenticity: Being true to oneself can promote self-esteem and increase personal satisfaction (Goldman & Kernis, 2002). If you aren’t yourself, then who are you? The only way to be a good business leader is to be who you are because you only know what you know. If you like Star Wars, as I do, then don’t say you like Star Trek better because the contact you are working with is a huge “Trekkie” (that is what Star Trek fans call themselves) and you think it’ll help you land a deal. It’s not worth it, because it will more than likely come out that you lied, then the deal is no more. Just be yourself. In the business world, authentic leaders and employees can foster trust and loyalty, leading to increased engagement and commitment.
  3. Consistency: Being consistent in one’s words and actions can promote trust and respect (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). In the workplace, consistent employees are more likely to be seen as reliable and dependable, contributing to the overall success of the organization.

Courage: Cultivating Conviction, Bravery, and Perseverance

Courage is an essential quality for building good business character.

By cultivating conviction, bravery, and perseverance, individuals can demonstrate their strength of character and achieve their goals. Sometimes, as a business leader, you have to stand on your own and you have to have the courage to do so. Sometimes, you ‘just know’ something will work. Not sure how, but you are sure it will. You have to show the courage to go with your gut, whether that comes from experience, insights, or other things you believe in, you have to believe in yourself to make things happen. It takes courage to do it though. The following are some key aspects of courage that can contribute to good business character:

  1. Conviction: Having conviction and standing up for one’s beliefs can increase self-esteem and build character (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Believe in yourself and your ability as a leader. Believe that you have what it takes to build a strong team, a strong product, or a strong company. In the workplace, employees and leaders with strong convictions can inspire others and contribute to a more purpose-driven organization.
  2. Bravery: Demonstrating bravery in the face of adversity can increase personal satisfaction and demonstrate strength of character (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). I think about the year 2020 when COVID-19 hit the worls by storm and so many businesses had to change their business practices. Many didn’t survive, they were brave for doing their best but they lost everything. There were others who weathered the storm and prevailed in their bravery. It doesn’t always work out but if you don’t try, if you aren’t brave, it will never work out. In the business world, brave employees and leaders can tackle challenges head-on, contributing to the overall success of the organization. Be brave.
  3. Perseverance: Perseverance in the face of obstacles can increase resilience and contribute to the development of good business character (Duckworth, 2016). Similar to being brave, those who don’t persevere will never taste the sweetness of success.


In conclusion, good thoughts and good acts play a pivotal role in molding good business character whether you are an employee or a leader.

By cultivating a growth mindset, gratitude, empathy, kindness, honesty, responsibility, mindfulness, generosity, respect, perseverance, integrity, compassion, and courage, individuals can develop strong moral and ethical principles that contribute to their personal and professional success.

As a result, businesses with good character are more likely to foster positive relationships and have productive work environments, that create long-term success for employees, leaders, and for the organization.


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