I have come to think of character as a muscle that has to be built with exercises and training rather than a a deeply embedded trait that we have or we don’t.
If we build those character muscles up, we’ll have the strength of character, so to speak, to make the “heavy lift” when right thoughts and actions are hard to do.
But just like when lifting something heavy, character doesn’t involve a single muscle. Rather I see character as having a few “major muscle” groups that need to be developed to be able to make the heavy lift of right thought and action.
Those muscle groups are curiosity, courage, and persistence. As I see them at least.
Curiosity gets us to learn about character and whether we have it - a quest with little extrinsic motivators. Courage gets us to do the hard work of transforming ourselves - because we will inevitably find that we are not perfectly good if we are curious. Persistence gives us the endurance to stick with the hard work of transforming ourselves - which never happens overnight.
The way I figure it, if we can intentionally develop these three muscle groups - curiosity, courage, and discipline - we will have the strength of character needed to do the right thing, even when it is heavy.