Ability and Character: How They Augment Someone’s Career

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Ability and character are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two very different things. Ability is a measure of someone’s skill or aptitude in a particular area. Character, on the other hand, is a measure of someone’s personality and morals. While ability is important, it’s character that ultimately determines whether someone is successful or not. After all, it’s not enough to simply have the skill to do something — you also need the personality and integrity to see it through. That’s why many employers place such a high value on character when hiring new employees. In the end, it’s character that defines who you are and how you react to the challenges life throws your way.

How ability and character help people in their careers

Most successful careers are built on a foundation of character and ability. People with strong character are those who have a positive attitude towards their work and life in general. They are more likely to be successful, as they are often able to uplift those around them and lead from the front. Good character is also essential for being a servant-leader, as it allows you to put the needs of others before your own and work together as part of a team. Similarly, individuals with strong character are often more successful in their careers, as they can overcome challenges and set an example for others to follow. Finally, those who can think critically and solve problems are often in high demand by employers. Therefore, it is clear that ability and character can help people in their careers.

Examples of how ability and character have helped people in their careers

Let’s look at some examples of how ability and character combined can get you to the top of the corporate ladder:

Seah Moon Ming

Seah Moon Ming is a great example of how ability can help people in their careers. Seah is the chairman of SMRT Corporation Ltd, the biggest transport operator in Singapore. The biggest problems he had to face at the start of his tenure were low employee morale and the management’s lack of communication with the ground staff. He turned this around, showing concern for his employees and making sure that he hears their feedback. When he started in 2017, the SMRT was plagued with issues, and people were outraged. He was the only one who bowed in apology to them for the issues they are facing with the service. As a servant-leader, he led his company and improved its services. Now, five years into his tenure, SMRT is now a much better organization, and service is now part of the company’s marketing identity.

Bill Marriott

Bill Marriott is another example of how ability and character can help people in their careers. Bill Marriott is the chairman and CEO of Marriott International, one of the world’s largest hotel companies. Bill Marriott started off stapling invoices for his father at the age of 14, soon becoming a dishwasher and a burger cook. He worked his way up through the ranks, getting a college education and even joining the Navy. He eventually over the company when his father retired, and by that time, he already had 60 years of experience in the hotel industry. Bill Marriott’s story shows that hard work, determination, and perseverance can pay off in a big way. Not only did he use his abilities and try to improve them, his character as a hard worker did not let him coast on his father’s success. Today, Marriott International has more than 8,000 properties in over 139 countries.


Nordstrom is a high-end department store chain that is known for its excellent customer service. Nordstrom’s inverted pyramid model is another great example of how character can help people in their careers. This is because it implements an employee-centric model, a model that was born of empathy yet still makes way for ability. Nordstrom’s inverted pyramid model puts ground-level employees at the top of the pyramid and management at the bottom. This model ensures that policies and procedures always take the input of employees in mind and are meant to improve their service. Nordstrom’s story shows that having a strong commitment to employees can be a major competitive advantage in any business.

In all these examples, it is clear that while ability is important, you cannot get anywhere meaningful without character.

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Why you should develop your ability and character throughout your career

The ability to continually develop one’s skills and character is essential for success in any career. Those who can upskill themselves and persevere in the face of challenges will always be in demand. Those who can also show empathy and kindness, and who are always looking to improve themselves, will be even more successful.

Continuing to develop your skills shows that you are dedicated to your career and are willing to invest in yourself. It also demonstrates that you are adaptable and can keep up with change. Perseverance is another important quality, as it shows that you are determined and resilient. Empathy and self-improvement are also key, as they demonstrate that you care about others and are always looking to improve.

Ways to develop ability and character

There are many ways to develop ability and character. One way is to engage in activities that require skill and endurance, such as sports or musical performances. Another way is to take on difficult challenges and see them through to completion. This could involve starting a business, taking on a new job, or learning a new skill. Finally, spending time with people who are different from you can help you to develop empathy and understanding. This could involve travel, volunteering, or simply interacting with people from other cultures. By engaging in these activities, you can develop the ability and character that will help you to achieve your goals in life.


It is clear that developing one’s ability and character is essential for success in any career. By engaging in activities that require skill and endurance, taking on difficult challenges, and spending time with people who are different from you, you can develop the ability and character that will help you to achieve your goals.

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