Last week, we covered how frugality, industriousness, and persistence help you work hard, play well, and push past limitations. Today, we conclude our life goal virtue series by exploring how loyalty, generosity, gratitude, and authenticity ensure you find support and community.
Creating Support For Your Life Goal – Loyalty, Generosity, Gratitude, Authenticity
Life goals are significant undertakings we need help accomplishing. Our previous posts detailed changes you have to make within yourself. Today we’re discussing the best ways to interact with the external world and earn support for your life goal.
Firstly, loyalty is faithfulness to your ideals and your allies. When you are loyal, you stick to your principles despite doubts, fears, and attacks. Without loyalty, you’ll crumble under pressure and easily betray your values and allies. Such betrayals will earn you criticism and self-doubt.
Secondly, generosity is the art of providing resources to those in need. To be generous is to help people meet basic needs, inspire themselves to greatness, or even offer a smile or compliment. Generosity helps us become less self-focused and more grateful. The more selfish we are with our excess resources, the more paranoid and abrasive we will become.
Thirdly, gratitude is the act of acknowledging the good things in one’s life. The more grateful you are, the more positive you can be. Those who are ungrateful waste time complaining, are more negative and lack control over their emotions.
Lastly, authenticity is about being honest. You have to tell the truth to yourself and others. The more you can trust yourself, the more confident you’ll be in your abilities. The more dishonest you are to yourself, the more shallow you’ll become.
Although others can help you reach your life goal, they cannot walk the path for you. You are a runner and your friends, family, and allies can hand water bottles, offer words of encouragement, or give you a place to rest. However, they cannot carry you to the finish line as you’ll never gain the muscles, or pride, necessary to finish the race. Therefore, you need to see your allies as your cheerleaders, not as your saviors.
Loyalty – Your Journey Can Be Lonely; Build Your Community And Support Them
Now we’ve created your life goals. We’ve built systems and set short-term goals. We’re shedding bad habits and building better ones. Now what? We need to build a support network of people who can support you on your journey. Although we are individualists, we are not radicals. Humans need each other and there’s no shame in wanting loyal friends. Friendship, romances, and community are crucial to your mental health. Thus, you need to build your community.
However, never settle for your community. For example, I could have accepted my abusive family as a “support” network. Or, I could restrict my friends to those who completely agree with me or share my racial composition. Such a limited mindset will not help you create a network of virtuous people who wish to serve you. Therefore, never seek loyalty from people for shallow reasons. You want to build friendships based on shared experiences, beliefs, and goals.
Always remember: loyalty is about helping others. Help those who are loyal to you by showing them the same loyalty. It takes time to build trust but when someone has proven themselves, respect their efforts and return the favor. True friendships are hard to come by, so never let them slip through your fingers.
Generosity – Take Your Excess Resources And Invest In Virtuous People And Causes
Individualism is, by its nature, a self-centered philosophy. Therefore, you’ll need to serve the needs of others to avoid becoming arrogant and delusional. When we are self-centered (i.e., see only mirrors instead of windows) we lose creative strength, emotional awareness, and willpower.
There are multiple ways to be generous: let someone cross ahead of you in traffic during rush hour, or take your loved one to dinner. You could help a co-worker solve a problem, or donate to a local charity. Charitable actions will help you feel better about yourself and improve the lives of people in your community.
I want to conclude by warning against the “government check” mentality which plagues many citizens of the world. You do not help people by sending them a blank check and going about your business. You help people by investing in their wellbeing and holding them accountable.
For example, the gambler doesn’t need a welfare check; he needs counseling, job opportunities, and a community that will hold him accountable if he slips into bad habits. There are private organizations, such as your local church, which are heavily invested in the improvement of those in need. Locate these charities and offer whatever aid or services you can. They are happy to have the assistance and will provide you an environment where you can deliver meaningful change.
Gratitude – Always Remember How Blessed You Are And You’ll Fail To Find Time To Complain
Many people are simply ungrateful for the lives, resources, and opportunities they have. Everyone complains about every little thing. Complaining drains people of their willpower, emotional energy, and mental stability. Whether individuals are complaining about the government or whining about the lateness of their meal, everyone has something to grumble about. However, we are uncommon among the common. We have to rise above the petty complaints of our fellow citizens and focus on what we should be grateful for.
When we are grateful, we complain less and reserve our energies. Stuck in traffic? Be grateful that you live in a time with cars (or would you prefer horses and buggies?). Are there prejudiced people around? Be grateful that you weren’t born two centuries ago where everyone from black people to women and poor whites were treated like third, fourth, and fifth class citizens. Is a co-worker being annoying? Be grateful that you have a moment to practice your patience and strengthen your emotional maturity against an annoying person.
Gratitude, similar to generosity, removes us from our headspace and forces us into the world. However, when we complain, we see the world negatively. When we are grateful, we see the world positively which enables us to respond to difficulties from a nobler place.
Be grateful. Reflect daily on the amazing things that you have access to. Cut complaining by thinking about how much harder life would be if you were borne elsewhere or in a different time. Through gratitude, you can free of mind of negativity and instead focus your efforts on achieving greatness.
Authenticity – Every Day, Until You Die, Be Honest About Yourself, Your Efforts, And Your Actions
People lie to themselves every day and this dishonesty negatively affects their abilities to perform and react. When we lie about our actions, our limitations, and our thoughts, we create separate narratives in our minds. These narratives take us away from what is true and worth pursuing by forcing us down a path which is easy and self-serving.
For example, if you promise to yourself that you’ll do a little studying after work then you need to stick to this promise. However, if you go home, decide you’re “too tired” and play video games, then you’ve lied. This lying fractures your mind and you’ll feel guilty and disappointed in your laziness and deceit. These feelings compound into shame and shame can make it hard for you to enjoy your leisure time.
Therefore, never lie to yourself. Own up to your shortcomings, addictions, and flaws. Find ways to overcome your problems or mitigate them through clever planning. You’ll notice that many people hate being alone with their own thoughts. One reason why is being alone means facing their dishonesty towards themselves and their goals. They don’t want to reflect on how often they chose comfort over greatness because the reflection is painful.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
When we are honest with ourselves, we can trust our gut feelings. Generally, I don’t schedule break time. I decide at the moment whether I want to spend time doing something lighter than my current work. Once I hit a stopping point, I stop relaxing and get back to work. I have this ability because I don’t deny my feelings or try to bury any anxiety. If I feel anxious about relaxing too much, then I know I need to get back to work and vice versa.
Lastly, we need to be honest with others. Don’t bury who you really are, what you’re really passionate about, and what you really believe. There is a time and place for everything (i.e., keep politics out of the business room) but you want to be honest. Additionally, never lie to others whether for their own benefit or for your own gain. Deceiving people becomes a chore and you’ll trip up eventually. So, tell the truth.
All The Tools You Need To Develop A Life Goal
To develop peace in our hearts and confidence in our souls, we need to adhere to the thirteen virtues. These virtues give us the tools we need to develop a life goal, create a plan, push forward, and seek aid. Without these virtues, we will live a lost and empty life.
So, do what must be done.
- Do your friends and family know what you wish to accomplish with your life? Why or why not?
- What do you want in a friend? How can you cultivate those qualities in yourself?
- If you have close friends, ask them what their goals are. What can you do to help them accomplish their goals?
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