11 Of The Most Admirable Personal Qualities

What admirable personal qualities do you think of when your favorite people in the world come to mind?

Or when you notice positive qualities in a person, which ones make you think, “I wish I were as ___ as what’s-his-face”?

Chances are, you’ve found yourself changing your attitude toward someone when you noticed one of the following personal attributes:

  • Humility when under attack
  • Kindness when treated badly
  • Serenity in the midst of a crisis
  • Forgiveness when deeply hurt
  • Courage when the deck is stacked against them

If you’ve ever made a list of personal qualities you want to see in a spouse or partner, you know that these characteristics matter as much in day-to-day situations as in extraordinary ones.

The good news is that if you don’t yet see these qualities in yourself, it’s not too late to cultivate them. So, let’s take a look at 11 admirable qualities and what it takes to develop them in yourself and encourage them in others.

List of 11 Personal Qualities That Are Essential

The list of personal characteristics you’ll see here are ones you likely admire when you see them in others. When you meet someone who exemplifies one of these qualities, it might remind you of situations where you exhibited the opposite quality.

And it stings a bit. Sometimes it even keeps you at night.

But comparing yourself to others and dwelling on where you come up short only benefits you as much as it motivates you to take action to cultivate those qualities in yourself.

These aren’t just good qualities in a person; they’re essential to the person you were born to be. These are universal character traits that every living soul should strive to cultivate and strengthen.

young girls walking and hugging personal qualities

Once you get started, there’s no longer any point in comparing yourself to others; just work on putting the following characteristics into practice – every day, and one at a time – until they become part of who you are.

1. Kindness

What is kindness?

Kindness is love in action, and love is connection. When you realize you’re connected to every living being, you want to do them good, because you share in their joys and in their sufferings.

You want to bring more good into their lives and do what you can to alleviate their sufferings because in doing so for them, you’re doing the same for yourself.

How to develop this quality

  • Listen without judging or criticizing.
  • Do something good for someone who can’t pay you back.
  • Commit to seeing the good in others, and look for ways to encourage them.

Recommended kindness books on Amazon

The Kindness Challenge: Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship by Shaunti Feldhahn, or

The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life (10th Anniversary Edition) by Piero Ferrucci (with a preface by the Dalai Lama).

2. Humility

What is it?

The humble person isn’t the one you hear tearing himself down to fish for compliments or garner sympathy.

Related: 20 Personality Development Tips

Humility manifests as a quiet understanding of your self-worth and competence, as well as a tendency to see past yourself (and your own ego) and to risk greater insult to your pride in order to better serve someone else.

How to develop this strength

  • Learn about your ego — what it is, what it wants, and what its weaknesses are.
  • Stop equating humility with self-deprecation (false humility).
  • Learn to own who you are and what you’re good at.
  • Spend less time thinking of yourself (and what people think of you) and more time thinking of how you can contribute to the good of others.

Recommended books on Amazon

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday, and

Relaunch Your Life: Break the Cycle of Self-Defeat, Destroy Negative Emotions, and Reclaim Your Personal Power by Scott Allan

3. Integrity

What is it?

Integrity is when your words and actions agree with your beliefs and when others can depend on you to act in accordance with what you say you believe.

Self-knowledge is a prerequisite because you can’t act in accordance with your values if you don’t know what they are.

How to develop this strength

  • Say what you mean. Be your authentic self, and let your words and actions communicate your core values.
  • Honor your commitments.
  • Do what you believe is right, even when no one is looking.

Recommended books on Amazon

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, and

The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self Mastery by Don Miguel Ruiz, Don Jose Ruiz, and Janet Mills

4. Equanimity

What is it?

With equanimity, you accept the present moment and all its challenges without reacting negatively or trying to escape it.

Equanimity makes temperance and patience possible. Whatever happens, you remain open to what it can teach you.

How to develop this strength

  • Practice mindfulness journaling.
  • Spend some time each day in quiet mindfulness meditation.
  • Practice conscious acceptance of the present moment, without agitation or negative reaction.

Recommended books on Amazon

10-Minute Mindfulness: 71 Habits for Living in the Present Moment by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport, and

The 90-Day Mindfulness Journal: 10 Minutes a Day to Live in the Present Moment by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport

5. Forgiveness

What is it?

Essentially, this is about the decision to let go and choose compassion over revenge or resentment.

Related: How To Forgive Someone and Let Go of Anger

This should not be a one-time thing but a habit you cultivate for your own mental health and personal growth as well as for the good of others.

How to develop this strength

  • Make a forgiveness list at the end of each day.
  • Practice letting go of the things you can’t control or change.
  • Remember that hurt people tend to hurt other people, and show compassion.
  • Don’t assign your own meanings to other people’s actions and words.

Recommended books on Amazon

Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins, or

Radical Forgiveness: A Revolutionary Five-Step Process to Heal Relationships, Let Go of Anger and Blame, and Find Peace in Any Situation by Colin Tipping

6. Gratitude / Joyfulness

What is it?

A grateful heart finds joy everywhere and is more resilient than negative thinkers and people who are too busy to appreciate the good in their lives.

woman laughing personal qualities

Gratitude makes you feel more connected with other living beings and more aware of the good in the present moment, as well as your calling to create more of it.

How to develop this strength

  • Make a gratitude list every morning.
  • Take time out to think of what brings you joy.
  • Practice mindfulness to become more aware of these things.

Recommended books on Amazon

The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor

The 90-Day Gratitude Journal by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport

7. Courage

What is it?

Those who exhibit courage do what needs to be done — or what they believe needs to be done — in spite of fear. Whatever they fear (criticism, rejection, death), they do or say what they believe they must.

How to develop this strength

  • “Do something every day that scares you” — Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Be your authentic self, risking the possibility that some won’t like you.
  • Openly admit when you’re wrong and ask forgiveness of those you’ve hurt or offended.
  • If your gut tells you that you’re on the wrong path, change direction, knowing that some will question or criticize you for it.

Recommended books on Amazon

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared by Jessica Honegger

8. Calmness / Serenity

What is it?

A calm person doesn’t react emotionally to every provocation (deliberate or otherwise). With true serenity, you feel an undisturbed peace of soul.

Related: 10 Keys To Calming Yourself

The whole world could collapse around you, and you would remain still on the inside, calmly noticing things and taking whatever action would best serve everyone affected by it.

How to develop this strength

  • Take some time out each day for quiet meditation.
  • Practice listening silently when others speak, rather than reacting or interrupting.
  • Practice taking a deep breath (or three) when you’re starting to feel agitated.

Recommended books on Amazon

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, and

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist, with a foreword by Brené

9. Discipline / Focus

What is it?

The disciplined person commits to doing something and gets it done, even when he’d rather be doing something else.

He doesn’t let procrastination or a craving for comfort get in the way. When it’s time to work, the disciplined focus on the task at hand in order to give it their full attention and finish it in a timely manner.

How to develop this strength

  • Schedule some time each day to accomplish at least one thing that needs doing, and honor that commitment.
  • Spend some time each day (at least 5 minutes) in silent meditation. Try starting (or ending) the day with it, or you can make time for it in the middle of a long or stressful shift.
  • Commit to one new micro habit that will help you become the person you want to be, work for a month to establish that habit (with daily action), and don’t make excuses if you blow it for a day. Just get right back to it as soon as you can.

Recommended books on Amazon

No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline by Brian Tracy, and

The Self-Discipline Blueprint: A Simple Guide to Beat Procrastination, Achieve Your Goals, and Get the Life You Want by Patrik Edblad, with a foreword by Steve Scott

10. Wisdom and Prudence

What is it?

Wisdom is the ability to know the right thing to do or to say, while prudence is wisdom plus good timing. A variant of wisdom — discernment — helps you know what risks are worth taking and which are not, as well as who deserves your trust and whom you should steer clear of.

Related: The Ultimate List of Life Lessons

How to develop this strength

  • Spend time each day quietly contemplating things — your life, your daily habits, your goals, your purpose, your mission, what matters most to you.
  • Read books by those who have cultivated wisdom and who can help you do the same (trusted sages or counselors, i.e. people who walk the walk).
  • Listen to your gut when you’re talking to someone or considering a new step. Wisdom and intuition are close relatives.

Recommended books on Amazon

A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul, Written and Selected from the World’s Sacred Texts by Leo Tolstoy, or

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

11. Trust

What is it?

Trust encourages us to find meaning and purpose in everything we experience. It opposes a fatalistic view of life, where the universe is against you, and you’ll most likely end up destitute and alone.

man giving woman flower personal qualities

Whether you place your trust in God/a higher power, in yourself, or in someone else, your trust makes it possible to hope for a satisfying outcome for you and the people you care about.

How to develop this strength

  • Learn to communicate more effectively to ensure you understand the intent behind others’ words and actions.
  • Consistently treat others with respect and listen to their concerns with an open mind and a genuine interest in understanding them better.
  • Treat others as you want to be treated, and honor your commitments to them. Be trustworthy.
  • Learn to trust others by collaborating with them on something you both care about.

Recommended books on Amazon

Trust: Mastering the Four Essential Trusts by Iyanla Vanzant, or

The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey

Start where you are.

Now that you’ve gotten to this point, don’t waste any time berating yourself for not having practiced some or all of these qualities to the degree you wish you had. Start today, right where you are, to build on one of them.

You can choose a quality that is familiar to you and that you’d like to strengthen in yourself or one that you admire but have yet to adopt and commit to practicing.

Keep in mind that you need more than curiosity or vague interest to make these qualities your own. This will take work. And you won’t do it perfectly, because no one does.

Every moment where you act in alignment with these qualities is a triumph. And every triumph matters. You may not always catch yourself building those qualities in yourself, and you can’t count on others noticing, either. Don’t worry about that.

Just keep working at it and looking for ways to practice it.

Before you know it, you’ll have reason to be proud of the progress you’ve made and the person you’ve become.

And may your courage and determination influence everything else you do today.

1 thought on “11 Of The Most Admirable Personal Qualities”

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing such basic life related information in simple words. Sometimes we forget a simple life is easier to achieve. Shared this post in my facebook group for others to benefit.


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