People want to be better. You might want to be better.
Being a better person not only makes your life so much more meaningful; it also positively influences the people around you and touches their lives in the best ways, too.
A noble person is someone who has and shows personal qualities that people admire and who decides to behave the way an admirable person would. Luckily, it isn’t impossible to be one yourself.
It isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
In this article, we’ll go into 10 traits of a noble person.
1) They’re responsible
Responsibility means feeling that it’s your duty to deal with what comes up and acting independently by making decisions without someone else’s approval in mind.
Imagine someone who always steps up to the plate when things get rough (and in everyday life) and own up to the promises they make to follow through on them. Pretty admirable, right?
These people don’t disappear when things get hard; they finish what they started and stick it out, doing the best they can to fulfill their duties.
They’ve got goals, too, and work towards them. They’re goal-oriented and work with energy and purpose, perseverance in hand while they weather the curveballs that life throws at them to reach the goals they’ve set for themselves.
They aren’t quitters and they’re reliable; you can always count on them to do what needs to be done and if they make any mistakes, they don’t pin the blame on anyone else and own up to what they did.
That’s what responsibility is — recognizing that you need to take ownership of the things you do and the commitments you get into and putting that into action.
It’s easy to avoid your duties and responsibilities, but a noble person fights that temptation and pushes through anyway.
2) They intentionally live their lives
An admirable person is intentional about their life, defining a purpose for their life and actually putting in the work to live the way they need to live. They inject everything they do with meaning.
It means understanding your fundamental beliefs and values and then actively living your life in line with those values. Noble people know what they believe in and stick by them, uncompromising in their beliefs and unwavering in the face of distraction.
Everyone’s realities are different and noble people evaluate theirs clearly. What this means is that they understand their external and internal environments deeply; they don’t live life blind and stumbling through it but with eyes open and a clear objective ahead.
This doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily after the reward on its own. They also acknowledge that progress is its own reward and choose to learn from their journeys, believing that progress isn’t transactional.
It isn’t always easy because people who choose to live their lives with intention have to think about each decision they make, big or small, and evaluate whether this decision is going to lead them down the path they’re meant to take or derail them from it.
These people are aware that the only thing you can really control in your life is your behavior and if you want to achieve your goals, you need to act in a way that contributes to those goals. They realize that life is made up of these choices and they don’t intend to waste their ability to choose.
How do they do this, then?
Think of your mind as something you can control. Of course, you can’t control what you feel, but you can always control what you do—and since your mind controls your physical state, you can control your physical state and environment. Your mind believes the things you tell it, and noble people know that.
3) They’re kind
One of the most defining traits of a noble person is kindness, always caring for people with love and respect. It’s being compassionate and forgiving, knowing how to understand and care for others with no selfish motives in mind.
Kindness also involves empathy, which is when we feel what another person is feeling.
According to the Simulation Theory, empathy is possible when we see another person and “simulate” their emotion in ourselves so that we can know firsthand what it’s like.
You can imagine that this isn’t the easiest thing to do because it’s basically absorbing someone else’s emotions into yourself; without firm boundaries, it can be easy to lose yourself in the negative ones. It takes a lot of energy to manage other people’s emotions, but noble people know how to keep a healthy balance and draw their lines in the sand for their well-being.
Because of this, empaths give great advice because they can put themselves in another person’s shoes.
They’re admired for this, too; people who scored high on empathy generally reported larger social circles and more satisfying relationships.
Kind people are patient with others, which isn’t always easy either. It’s easy to get impatient, but noble people choose to be other-directed and other-committed with their patience.
They’re also good listeners, not listening to respond and inject themselves into the conversation but listening for the sake of listening.
Lastly, they’re also kind to themselves. Being kind can benefit the self and increases wellbeing, but truly kind people take these benefits as a second to their altruistic motives of being kind to others.
4) They’re courageous
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”
Another trait of a noble person is courage. This is easily confused with fearlessness, but it isn’t the same thing; courage doesn’t mean not being afraid but it’s doing something despite that fear. It’s looking fear in the eye and saying, “not today”.
To be courageous is to not let fear govern your actions; it fortifies people who are going after their goals and demands strength from them.
People admire courageous people because they’re proof that living that way, doing things despite the fear you’re feeling, is possible.
Ben Dean, Ph.D., says that:
“Unless one experiences the sensation of fear, subjectively and/or physically, no courage is required.”
Like I said, courageousness doesn’t equate to being fearless because, without fear, there can be no courage.
5) They practice integrity
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral practices and a noble person practices integrity in their everyday life. It means going beyond knowing your values—it’s controlling your behavior to make it consistent with those values.
People with integrity care about doing the right thing, even when it’s hard. They do the right thing even when no one’s watching, even when it’s not convenient for them at the moment. They’re not doing it for any form of reward; they’re just wired to do what they think is right.
It also means speaking out against injustice and standing up for what’s right. It’s fair-mindedness and being unbiased.
Because of these values, they’re considered to be noble people because they can inspire others to take a stand, too. They encourage the people around them to do the right thing like they do and people can look up to them for that.
Lastly, integrity is about being authentic and trustworthy. Trustworthiness has been identified as an important trait to have in a friendship, and for good reason — without trust, relationships are doomed.
6) They’re wise
A noble person can be intelligent, but it isn’t the same as being wise.
Wisdom is seeing the big picture; it’s having knowledge that gives you insight and judgment and actually putting that into practice or giving people advice to do that, too. It’s using the information you have and the understanding you have of life to make a good life for yourself and for the people around you.
It’s deeper than internalizing facts. It’s critical thinking and careful judgment, too.
Just because these people are knowledgeable doesn’t mean their heads are all puffed up with their own sense of importance. A true trait of a noble person is the ability to always be learning from your environment without taking being wrong as a personal slight.
These people aren’t afraid to be wrong because they recognize that they can’t always be right and that there’s always something new to learn. They realize that their knowledge and wisdom isn’t the end but a continuous journey that develops them as people.
They’re open-minded when it comes to learnings and they’re not stubborn about turning away new perspectives. In fact, they embrace them, looking to learn with every opportunity.
What are your values in life?
When you know your values, you are in a better position to develop meaningful goals and move forward in life.
Download the free values checklist by the highly acclaimed career coach Jeanette Brown to instantly learn what your values really are.
7) They’re optimistic
Winston Churchill once said, “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Optimism is a hopeful attitude of hope and confidence in success and a positive future. It’s having a healthy outlook on life and being forward-thinking instead of dwelling on problems.
Noble people aren’t too pessimistic that their outlook on life is a negative or harmful one.
They’re resilient and bounce back from troubles; they learn from the past to better their present and future without feeling sorry for themselves and focusing on all the negatives in life.
They look on the bright side when things get tough and interpret situations in the best possible light, maybe even going so far as to turn them into learnings.
Optimism isn’t being happy all the time, because that’s almost impossible. What it is is choosing to be positive in your behavior because that’s the only thing you can control and you choose not to let negative things get to you—in a healthy, rational way, of course.
This is an admirable trait of a noble person because these people inspire the same positivity in the people around them. No one likes a downer, and infectious positivity makes life more light-hearted and less daunting.
8) They’re independent
Independence means thinking, feeling, and acting without relying on others’ direction. It’s taking control of your own life and realizing that no one can help you best but yourself.
People see other independent people as people to look up to because of how self-reliant and powerful they are; they see how these people control their own behavior without influence from others and aspire to be the same.
It’s also avoiding being codependent in relationships. Codependency is when we become emotionally addicted to another person and expect them to fix our lives, caring with obligation and lacking boundaries and self-worth.
Independent people are the opposite. They have a clear picture of who they are and know when something crosses the line.
Too much reliance on people isn’t healthy, but neither is not accepting help at all when needed. Noble people know how to ask for help when they really need it and allow themselves to be loved and cared for despite their independence.
9) They inspire
A big trait of a noble person is being inspirational.
All of the above traits are positive ones that everyone can benefit from embodying and a noble person knows that. This last ability to be inspirational takes all of these traits and projects them onto others so that they can be the same.
Noble people aren’t selfish about their traits; they don’t want to turn kindness and integrity and responsibility into a contest and be the winners. They want to inspire everyone to want to be better and will do what they can to share their positive traits with the people around them.
All in all, a noble person is someone who has these traits and more. They’re people who care about others, care for themselves, and care about inspiring others to be the same — and anyone can choose to be the same.
10) They’re confident
One character trait of a noble person is confidence and high self-esteem.
Confidence is a belief in oneself, the conviction that one has the ability to meet life’s challenges and to succeed. Self-esteem is a little different but is related; it’s giving respect and admiration to yourself and believing in your capabilities.
Both of these traits are found in noble people because people aspire to be confident and to have high self-esteem. It’s no wonder, with papers published that connect self-confidence with success in life.
Confident people are visionaries—people who think big, a noble trait because they also prove to others that big goals are attainable. They inspire people to believe that they can be confident too, but they stay humble in that they aren’t too confident to cross the line into narcissistic territory.
Not staying humble comes with consequences if someone is too confident, such as problems in social circles, the workplace, and relationships. These people could think that they’re being arrogant.
It’s also a plus if they’re charismatic and can be anyone and everyone’s friend; it makes people see them as friendly and down-to-earth despite their confidence in themselves.
They don’t seek attention. They naturally attract it.
Putting yourself first
What’s your number one goal at the moment?
Is it to buy that car you’ve been saving up for?
To finally start that side-hustle that’ll hopefully help you quit your 9-5 one day?
Or to take the leap and finally ask your partner to move in?
Whatever your goals are, there’s a hidden trap in how you set them.
The trap is this:
You’ll only experience genuine life satisfaction when your goals are aligned with your values.
Because when values and goals are aligned, you enjoy the journey much more. And this makes achieving your goals much more likely.
If you find it hard to articulate your deeper life values, I suggest downloading the free values exercise by career coach Jeanette Brown.
It takes only a couple of minutes and will reveal a number of powerful insights about your underlying values.