In this post, I want to cover the second set of ten key virtues that will help you become an individual.
What are Virtues?
The simplest 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. This is not an easy process but if you keep these virtues in mind, you’ll always be going in the right direction.
Frugality is the quality of being economical with money or food; thriftiness.
Since humans have a limited time on this earth, we need to invest in people and items that enable us to be better individuals. This means being protective of what we do with our time, emotions, and resources by ultimately pursuing the good and avoiding the bad.
Frugality is about investing while avoiding spending. For example, it is not frugal to spend our money on cheaper food that will harm our long-term health. Another example is spending our time with abusive people just because they make us laugh or feel good in the short-term. In both examples, we lose out in the long-term whereas it would have been better to be frugal with our resources and invest in better food and friends.
Frugality means saving our resources and investing them in ways that improve our long-term happiness.
Generosity is the act of showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected.
We should always give. Being generous with our time, money, and resources helps others improve as well as helps solidify our happiness. Additionally, being generous to others, especially those closest to us, cultivates and strengthens the community we are a part of.
I want to expand on the role generosity plays in becoming an individual but I do want to stress productive and meaningful generosity. Generosity is useless if we, for example, are generous with other people’s resources. We have to give what we have and we have to do it with intention and expectation.
We should not give to people who do not utilize the resources we give. For example, I was teaching someone how to drive for about a year. They made no effort to engage in the lessons or to practice with others. They never sought to improve their skills or make the best of the time I and others spent teaching them. They wasted my investment and after that year, I refused to teach them again.
Be generous and frugal with your resources and help the people closest to you before spreading out. Additionally, always try to help people who are determined to help themselves.
Loyalty is a strong feeling of support or allegiance.
Loyalty is about having allegiance to the good. To be loyal to someone, we have to encourage them to improve and seek greatness as well as virtues. Loyalty is not the process of allowing someone to hurt others blindly and defending them when they do so.
We cannot be loyal to the bad. I have had to cut many people out of my life, such as my family, and this confuses people. The fact is, I cannot be loyal to my family and excuse their negative behavior towards me and the values I stand for. Therefore, I have to be loyal to people who are pursuing the good and enable me to do the same, such as my wife.
Loyalty cannot be blind and it must be earned. When we are loyal, we can award good people with our time, affection, and resources. This is why loyalty is important.
A strong sense of frugality helps you protect your resources and invest them wisely. Generosity enables you to take your well-earned resources and give them to those in need. Lastly, loyalty ensures that you invest your resources in only the good.
Through these three virtues, we learn how to think about our resources and material items in healthy and productive ways.
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.