What are Virtues?
The most straightforward definition of virtue is moral excellence. To become an individual, you must develop the habits, beliefs, and behaviors that will help you create mental strength, financial independence, and generosity. Developing these behaviors is not a natural process, but if you keep these virtues in mind, you’ll always be going in the right direction.
Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you.
Courage is not the absence of fear – that’s sociopathy. Courage is action in the face of fear. Courage can be as big as storming a beach while under enemy fire or as small as asking someone out. We must always have courage, so we can confidently know that life won’t scare us away from our goal.
For example, I’m scared to do this blog as well as release my creative works. However, I have to persist so I can accomplish one of my life goals.
We will face problems, and we will meet fear. In the face of that fear, we have to pursue greatness and act even when we do not want to.
Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
Life is full of delays, problems, and hold-ups and we must learn to respond to these hold-ups with a leveled head. Through patience, we keep control of our emotions, which allows us to react productively to minor and major inconveniences. Additionally, the practicing of patience helps us deal with short-term difficulties while planning for long-term greatness
I practice patience everywhere I go –, especially in traffic. I also exercise self-control while learning how to draw. By staying patient, I keep my cool instead of becoming impatient and rushing through lessons.
Fortitude is courage in pain or adversity.
Fortitude is the defense and persistence is the offense. When life hits us hard, we must be able to stand, take the hits, and be strengthened by those hits. We cannot buckle under the pressure – we have to keep going.
When I was younger, I was criticized for wanting to learn. I could have given in to the culture around me, but I had the fortitude to withstand the criticism. Coupled with my persistence, I left the anti-learning culture I grew up in, and I’ve never looked back.
Fortitude ensures we stand when we should fall, and that is why it’s important to develop it. Without grit, we will not be able to keep going in the face of adversary.
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
The key to gratitude is to go beyond your own perspective. We always need to take a step back and look at our world from beyond ourselves.
I have to go to the dentist. I don’t want to go but I think about how difficult, and painful, dentistry was, say, one hundred years ago. Suddenly, I’m grateful to live in a time where pain medicine and comfortable chairs are a thing.
We exist in an amazing time. Technology enables us to live fulfilling lives, and we have access to the best opportunities ever. Additionally, even the overall social landscape is a lot kinder to outlanders and minorities, which helps us see each other’s humanity.
There are always problems but we should be grateful to live during this time than in a distant and unforgiving past.
By practicing gratitude, we cultivate an appreciation for our lives and the lives of others which allows us to focus on what’s important.
Courage ensures we stand for what we believe in, even when we’re afraid. Gratitude helps us remain appreciative of our world while guaranteeing we do not stay irrationally focused on ourselves. Fortitude allows us to continue even when life hits us hard. Lastly, patience enables us to deal with life’s problems with a cool and leveled-head.
Never give up. Through these virtues, we understand how to withstand the difficulties and inconveniences of life.
Here is a list of suggested works that go further into virtue:
- Finding True Happiness by Father Robert Spitzer – This work deals heavily with building happiness through virtues, especially generosity.
- The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu with Douglas Abrams – Both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu offer key advice in how to build a better, more fulfilling life.
- What is virtue? Why is it important in the Christian life? – A quick and easy blog post on key virtues.
- What are Virtues? – A quick and easy blog post on key virtues.
Please write these questions out and answer them in your journal.
- Reflect on these three virtues. Do you agree with my definitions? Why? If not, why don’t you and is there anything you would add?
- Which of these virtues are easiest for you to practice? Which virtues are the hardest? Why?
- List out, under each virtue, what you think would be the ideal action to take to show that virtue. Then write out how you would practice it.
- Take the list you made in number three and actually go out and practice each virtue. Track how you exercise each action.
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash. Definitions from Google.