In this post, I want to cover the first three of the ten key virtues that will help you become an individual.
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. This is not a natural process, but if you keep these virtues in mind, you’ll always be going in the right direction.
Zeal is the state of having great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.
When we have zeal about a goal, we are willing to do whatever it takes to stick with accomplishing that goal. People who lack enthusiasm make excuses and give up quickly when life’s many problems get in their way.
Zeal is deeper than passion because emotions, which are typically fleeting, are tied to passion. When we have intensity, we have a deeper understanding of the why of our objective, as well as the problems that arise from pursuing that purpose.
A good example is being zealous for work. When we have a zeal for work, we are eager and energetic even if our emotions are negative. Through enthusiasm, we have a deeper meaning of the importance of our work, and we push on despite the discomfort.
Magnanimity is the quality of being magnanimous: loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and pettiness, and to display a noble generosity
Magnanimity is a sense of greatness. To be magnanimous is to shun pettiness while pursuing your goal with a clear head and rational pride.
One of my life goals is to take every opportunity I can to become a better man. I experience many obstacles in pursuit of this goal and much more to come. So I keep a sense of magnanimity in my goal, rational pride in my accomplishments, and avoid the attitudes as well as people who foster pettiness.
Through magnanimity, we keep our heads held high as we march on to greatness.
Persistence is firm or obstinate continuance in the course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
Persistence is the active reflection of patience. Patience deals with staying calm when you have little control while persistence is about having a relentless drive when you have control.
I’ve been trying to learn how to draw for years. I would put the skill down for legitimate and lazy reasons, but I kept coming back. Now I practice drawing every day for one hour. I’ve had to reduce the time I’ve wasted on “fun” things like YouTube videos, but I need to persist, even when I’m uncomfortable.
Similarly, we all need to be persistent. With a clear goal, a sense of magnanimity, and zeal for our objective, we can continue to push through the hard moments in life and persist to success.
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
– Calvin Coolidge
Zeal is a clear understanding of your goal. Magnanimity is taking rational pride in your goal. Persistence is refusing to give up on that goal. Through these three virtues, we will always have a clear drive for our goals in 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.