That internal voice that tells us right from wrong is the compass that guides our thinking and develops our character – we call it our conscience. Pay attention to it. If you don’t, that voice or thought will become duller and quieter until you can barely hear it at all.

In Smart Way #20 I tell a story about a young man called Jake. His conscience had all but slipped away as I discovered at one of my very first MIOMO courses. His decision to start listening to it again appeared as we sat parked outside the walls of prison one winter afternoon.

I told him two frightening things. Firstly, I described what would happen to him living alongside other men imprisoned for having no conscience. I also told him he no longer knew right from wrong. My words hit him hard and he suddenly felt remorse.

When we’ve messed up or hurt someone our conscience offers us a sense of guilt which stimulates us towards a corrective course of action. Embrace it!

Note that we can also carry unhealthy guilt which clings to us even when we’ve no way of putting things right – dealing with this is another story, but it can be avoided by listening to our conscience in the first place.

None of us are honest with ourselves every minute of the day…including me! But it’s vital that you know when your conscience is speaking to you. In today’s permissive society where moral and ethical boundary lines are being pushed further and further out, you will need to develop a strong character to see right from wrong.

Read more in Making It On my Own; 52 Smart Ways to Smash It in the Real World. You can also work on developing a strong and resilient character at my January MIOMO 4-day course.