Most of the success literature published in the United States for the first 150 years focused on The Character Ethic as being the foundation of success. Things like integrity, humility, simplicity, fairness, modesty, love, courage, justice, and the Golden Rule.

Before World War I, success literature that was published spoke about the Character Ethic. The Character Ethic is a theory that relates the basis of success on principles of effective living such as integrity, humility, courage, temperance, justice, patience, love and the Golden Rule.

Shortly after World War I, another theory of success was introduced which they called as The Personality Ethic.

The Personality Ethic talks about success being driven by an individual’s personality as against to his character.
Books were published on how to dress, how to behave in social interactions, positive mental attitude, one’s public image and ways to influence and get others to act in a certain way.

The importance of character is still mentioned in the new literature although it is fleeting. Books focused on things like getting results done through saying and doing the right things and packaging yourself in the right ways.

I was born in the late 60’s which meant that the success literature that I was introduced to was the Personality Ethic. These books stated that if you smile, dress nicely, did the right things and show to others that you are interested in them then basically you will get what you want. You were unintentionally taught to manipulate your way through life to get things without considering who you were, and what you wanted in your life.

It was then I realized that these books taught us to get what we wanted in life but also to fake it until you have gotten what you wanted. It unconsciously stated that you can pretend to be someone who you are not in order to get what you wanted and it did not matter who you really were as long as you get others to like you.

This did not settle nicely with me. It occurred to me that I was faking my way through life because I did not know who I really was and what I really wanted. I was manipulated a number of times by others who had been taught the same.
Looking back, I recall the times I wanted to change. I wanted to change my personality because they told me this was what was expected of me.

Nowadays, books briefly mention character, which for me is more important than personality. I have been teaching the Power Habits System for quite some time now and I believe that the Character Ethic should be placed back in books and studied more intently.

Author's Bio: 

Noah St. John is the best-selling author of The Book of Afformations: Discovering The Missing Piece to Abundant Health, Wealth, Love,and Happiness (Hay House). Noah is famous for inventing Afformations® and creating customized strategies for fast-growing companies and leading organizations around the world. His sought-after advice is known as the “secret sauce” for creating breakthrough performance. Noah’s books have been translated into ten languages and he appears frequently in the news worldwide, including CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, National Public Radio, PARADE, Woman’s Day, Forbes.com, Los Angeles Business Journal, Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Post, Bottom Line/Personal, Selling Power and The Huffington Post.