Today, I want to talk about industriousness, discipline, and authenticity, why I’m adding them to the virtues list, and how these three virtues can help you improve your life.
What Is Virtue?
Virtue is the pursuit of moral excellence. Pursuing moral excellence involves accomplishing that which is good and true so that you can elevate your moral character. However, virtue cannot be shared. We must develop individual morality – no one else can walk the path of moral development for us. Because of this, individualism is so essential to the development and growth of moral excellence.
Maintaining virtuous behavior requires a strong will, great emotional control, firm goals, an understanding of our values, and a desire to improve. It is hard to develop a moral character, but the awards are nearly infinite.
When I first started this blog, I created a list of ten virtues. By adhering to these virtues, I believe the individual can live a life of excellence. These virtues are:
Patience is all about controlling your mind and emotions during drawn out or trying situations. The ability to wait when you have no power to act is a valuable ability. Furthermore, patience plays into delaying gratification as well as planning for your future. Without the virtue of patience, you will waste emotional energy responding to events outside of your control. Or, you’ll easily give into temptation such as looking at your phone or wasting all of your money.
Frugality is the art of spending your time, money, and energy properly. When you are frugal, you are smart and invest your resources wisely. People who are not frugal will waste their money on knick-knacks or invest their time in destructive people. However, the more protective you are with your resources, the more you can give to yourself and those who are pursuing virtue.
Facing danger and challenge with a clear mind requires immense mental effort. Courage gives us the strength we need to face risk with confidence and grace. Remember that courage is not the absence of fear, but action in the face of fear. “Be bold and seize the day” is the motto of the courageous.
Fortitude is the art of standing against tough times and weathering every storm. Developing fortitude, or focus, is not easy. However, wWhen you possess fortitude, you can resist distractions and temptations that will rip you away from your pursuit of greatness.
Gratitude is the art of remembering that every good thing in your life is not yours alone. Remember to always have rational pride, but no single person is responsible for eradicating so many diseases, pushing for civil rights, inventing the light bulb, and so on. Your struggles are real and important, but they could be so much more if you were born just a century ago. Therefore, complain less by being grateful for the life that you have and the many gifts that are apart of it.
To be generous is to give to others, so that they may elevate themselves. When you are generous, you invest in the future and the success of other individuals. However, only be generous to the virtuous – never give your resources to the dishonest, evil, or manipulative. Help good people while condemning evil people.
Loyalty is the art of standing with those who stand with you. To be loyal is to help individuals who help you move forward and become a better person. When you see virtuous people, support them so that they may assist you. Lastly, you have to be loyal to ideas. If you believe in helping the poor then show loyalty to your beliefs by giving your own money to those in need. Don’t steal from others through taxation – put your resources on the line to show your support of the ideals you hold dear.
Zeal is an unyielding passion for life and all the abundant opportunities it offers. When you have zeal, you understand the “why” behind your existence, and you desperately want to live and succeed. Zeal is a crucial virtue because without a burning passion for your life you’ll burn out and find it easier to give in to dark thoughts. Therefore, take the time to understand your values, goals, and desires, so you can always remain passionate for this day and the next.
Nobility is focused on living an impressive, significant life. I don’t mean money, fame, or materials – I mean a virtuous life that has a purpose, friends, and value. Any man can make money, but it takes a saint to be generous to those in need, patient with his enemies, and frugal with his resources. By pursuing the highest aims in life, you’ll develop pride for your existence that only comes from being as magnanimous as possible.
To persistent is to move forward no matter the hardships. Those who are persistent are motivated and recognize that their goals are more significant than any pain they may be experiencing. Whether you want to master a skill or become a better parent, your chances of success are based on your ability to push forward no matter how difficult life is.
Adding To The Virtue List
By adhering to these virtues, I argue individuals can live better, more fulfilling lives. For example, if you are more patient in your daily dealings, then you can better reserve your emotional energy while avoiding emotional outbursts towards others. Or, if you’re more frugal you can save your resources to help others instead of wasting your resources on pointless materials.
I’ve thought frequently about my virtue list. I wanted to avoid repeating myself while ensuring the ten virtues were easy to follow and understand. However, after much consideration, I believe the list needs to be increased to feature a few more concepts. By expanding the list, I hope to give myself and other individuals the tools we need to live our best lives.
Productivity should be the cornerstone of any individual’s life. Your time is finite, and one day you will die. It is essential to spend your time and energy towards building the world you want to see. Therefore, being a productive individual is crucial to improving the world and fulfilling your deepest desires.
Now, when we hear “productive,” we think of corporate work or factory labor. We must not be so limited. You are productive when you pursue virtue, learn a skill, spend time with virtuous people, or take better care of your health. Industriousness is about ensuring your actions are building a sustainable future that supports your needs in the long-run.
I work, on average, 80 hours a week on a variety of projects. I put in my 40 at the job, but I also listen to podcasts, write, draw, build websites, learn new languages, code, and more. My goal is to remain productive while ensuring my actions feed into the goals that I have for myself.
Be productive. Work hard and work well. Once you’ve worked your ass off, sit back and enjoy the spoils of your labor.
Discipline (Temperance & Restraint)
The ability to restrain yourself is important. Many people lack necessary self-control, and this leads them to make poor decisions. Therefore, as an individual, you need to develop as much restraint and discipline as possible.
Learn how to push back on consuming junk media so you can focus on your work. Show restraint with those you don’t trust by keeping your mouth shut and not giving away the secrets of your personal life. Be disciplined around temptation and refuse to pursue what is bad for your health and your soul.
Lastly, temperance and discipline involve not abusing your power or pursuing that which is morally evil or subjectively detrimental. We all have power in one way or another and it pays to not abuse it. Therefore, understand the value and dynamics of your influence, so you can use it to better the lives of others.
By rejecting that which is evil, we can save ourselves grief and pain. Those cookies taste good now, but soon you’ll have a stomach ache. Cheating feels good at the moment, but eventually, your actions will tear apart your family. Show restraint by removing yourself from tempting places. Be disciplined by refusing to engage with negative, draining people and ideas. Focus on your mind on pursuing what is virtuous, and you’ll have more mental and emotional strength.
I’ve written a whole post on honesty. Being authentic in your dealings with others will help you build relationships, avoid evil, and develop personal strength. Additionally, when you’re honest with yourself, you’ll live a healthier life where you can trust your actions and thoughts.
Honesty is key to living a better life because authenticity enables you to encounter and face the world as it is and not as you think it is. When you are honest about your bad habits, then you can take the reasonable, comprehensive steps necessary to overcome your bad habits. When you are honest about others abusing you, you can get them out of your life.
Lastly, lying and fabrications do not improve the individual or your community. When you cover everything in a fog, you can’t respond healthily or generously. You’ll spend too much time interacting with gossip or half-truths, instead of aiding other people and helping them with issues they may have.
For example, I once had a problem with a coworker. Instead of letting the situation fester and make the gossip rounds, I avoided complaining to other people. I went directly to my coworker and resolved the issue. I circumvented the he-said, she-said of lying and indirectness. I opted for authenticity which saved me time and stress.
Why Are Virtues Important?
Living virtuously allows us to remove any shame or doubt in what we’re doing. When we act in adherence to righteousness, we ensure we’re living our lives to the best of our abilities. Additionally, by being virtuous, we can be confident in our dealings with others. For example, if we are patient and generous during a heated debate, we can take pride in our level-headedness. Additionally, we’ll handle the situation well even if the other person loses control of their emotions.
Lastly, being virtuous allows you to be the best version of yourself. You can’t be kind to your family or reach the goals you set for yourself if you are not virtuous. Being lazy will not help you learn a new skill and being impatient while not prevent you from being cruel to the innocent.
- Of the three new virtues, which one do you excel at? Which one do you struggle the most with?
- What is one way you can make your life more industrious?
- What is one way you can make your life more authentic?
- What is one way you can make your life more disciplined?
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.