I assumed character was this thing you had inside, this iron figure of willpower. So if you worked hard and did your self-control push-ups you would develop strong character, which was this iron self-control. But then I came to understand that none of us is strong enough to control ourselves against self-deception, self-indulgence or self-centredness. And character is not really found inside. It's actually found in the strength of your commitments to others.
It has struck me that the people who seemed most tranquil and most at peace, and in someways most admirable, were also the most humble, most aware of their own weakness. And the people who we associate with self-confidence sometimes are fragile. They're narcissists, they're egotists. They're always doing stupid things like combing over their hair to cover their bald spot. It's a perversity, or at least a paradox, that the people who I think of as really peaceful and tranquil emphasize their own weakness. Wisdom is really understanding your own tendency to error, and counteracting it.