“AN OFFICE in Munich!” It was far more than Noel ever asked for! He had joined the company when it was just starting. All the short hours of sleep, the stress of traveling by air, land, and sea, it was all worth it! A merger was taking place, and he would be promoted to an expatriate position!

“Work on the numbers,” his boss tells him.

“I already did,” he smiles proudly.

“I’ve seen your report. I want to show them better figures.”

“You mean change the report?” Referring to the financial papers he would be presenting the new partners.

“Yes. I want more impressive figures.”

He wants me to lie. Noel tells himself. He explains how good the truth already looks: “We have done very well. The facts can attest to our performance.”

“Will you work on the numbers or do I need someone else to do it for you?”

Noel thinks about his family. It’s not just about the money he provides for them. It’s also about how. Not just about being a good provider but also about being a person of character.

“I’m really sorry,” Noel responds.

“I feel more sorry for you,” his boss replies.

Another guy is now going to Munich. Noel keeps his office in Makati. But he gets to keep his character intact.

Character counts.

Character— comprised by traits such as honesty, kindness, diligence, generosity— stems from the innate goodness in people. Some are fortunate to have parents, both mother and father, who model it. Others are even more blessed to have teachers in their high school or college years, who share the same values as their parents, and who inspire them to bring it out further.

The more challenged among us are those who grew up with parents who preach that “cash is above character,” and “looking good is more important than being good.”

Whatever our upbringing, at the end of the day, character is a choice we make—today!

If you think you lost your character yesterday, you can find it today. It’s inside you. It always is. You just need to bring it out! Whatever situation you are in right now, know that your character counts. There is nothing to discern. Nothing to pray about. But something to do.

When you read the news or watch it on your flat screen, stop complaining about the crooks in their European cars and European villas; instead ask yourself, “How am I contributing to this at home and at work?” Stephen R. Covey advises, “Be a light, not a judge.”

Today, choose to make character count. Be honest, as the BCBP poster says, “even if others are not.” Be kind with your wallet and words. Be diligent and improve the culture in your work place. Work professionally. Be humble and strengthen your relationships.

Your character will bless your family, will bring you real friends, and will give you real joy.

You are a person of character. Live who you truly are today.

Have a magnificent Monday!