Character Is As Important As Ability

Vikram - Chesterfield, Missouri
Entered on May 15, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that character is as important as ability in order to succeed. I based my theme off a famous quote by former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. He had many great quotes, but I especially liked this one. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” I have realized that this is very true; there are many examples of this quote. Not just sports, but also politics, and everyday life.

One example of this quote being true is Adam “Pacman” Jones. He is a great player, and naturally talented at the game of football. But he lacks a sense of integrity, arguably the worst character in the NFL. Coming from college he was a great player, he had great potential in the NFL. Pacman Jones could have been an elite cornerback in the NFL, but he threw it away. He has spent more time in jail than on the field.

In contrast to Adam “Pacman” Jones, there is Peyton Manning. He is an amazing player with a strong moral compass. His talent got him to the top, but his character has kept him there. He is a Super Bowl champion and a MVP. That was his talent. But character earns money. He has plenty of endorsements, and he has done many commercials. His strong work ethic and character have endeared him to many Americans and as a result today Peyton Manning has more endorsements than any other professional athlete. Character gets you these things, not just talent. Nobody wants someone with bad character around him or her. If I had a choice, I would definitely choose someone with good character over bad.

Character can either really help you, or really hurt you. It can make you, or break you. There are many examples of both. In politics you see this all the time. An example of character really hurting you is Bernie Kerik. He was a respectable man, with numerous achievements and a stellar professional record. He was the New York police commissioner during 9/11, and also a nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security. But his bad character cost him the job because he had to withdraw his name as a result of his bad character. Bernard Kerik was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements. Going back to the quote by John Wooden, Kerik was at the top of his profession, but his character couldn’t keep him there so he dropped down to the bottom. Now not only will he not be secretary of Homeland Security, but he might have a jail sentence of 142 years and 4.7 million dollars worth in fines. All because of Kerik’s bad character this happened to him and it can happen to anyone, that’s why it is important to have good character.

Character is as important as ability in order to succeed. All of these examples just go back to show it. Nobody can succeed with bad character. That is why character is so important and you should try your best to strive for the greatest character you can possibly have.