QUOTE: Character is not only doing the right thing when no one is looking, it’s doing the right thing when everyone is looking. It’s being willing to do the right thing even when it costs more than you want to pay.-Michael Josephson

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  1. Could I add… willing to do the right thing when everyone is looking, without the desire to gain attention, praise, or self promotion. In todays world are not more people in it for self? How do we place self aside for the greater good… even when that does cost more than you are willing to pay.
    Thanks Michael

  2. It seems to me that Mr. Josephson may have misquoted J.C. Watts: “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking…” or Dennis Janson: “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”
    Maintaining those virtues when no one is looking is the true measure of a person’s character, integrity, etc., not doing it when everyone IS looking; that’s too easy.

    1. Post

      Actually, I was creating my own amalgamation and twist on several well known quotes. The quote attributed to JC Watts has been around before him but no one is sure who originated it. Thanks for your vigilance.

  3. I know this is old, but I’m fairly sure it was originally about integrity, and the quote was from CS Lewis. I do like your addition though, it’s so true that often times we’re pressured by the watchful eyes of our peers to live up to a standard set by them, rather than by what’s right. Excellent!

  4. I believe by this quote what Michael Josephson means is that integrity of character does lie on one’s drive to do the right thing when nobody is watching, solely to gratify of one’s own accountability which might spring from either a defining force – the God Almighty – and religion , or from self-imposed discipline. It’s free from inviting validation of others. This is the true implication of the words of J C Watts. What Michael Josephson yearns to add it is that it’s not just that what character encompasses, but also when you have the grit to do the right thing when people’s eyes are watching you and they expect you to flow with the tide. It’s the resolve to stand for the good when that’s seen with contempt and scorn. Great addition to the words of J C Watts. Thank you, Michael Josephson.

  5. I believe the origins of this quote may also go back to the 1940’s and Aldo Leopold who stated:
    “Ethical behaviour is doing the right thing when no one else is watching—even when doing the wrong thing is legal.”

    He is seen as a pioneer in environmental studies and i would recommend you check out his foundation.

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