An argument for virtue.
Words like this in today’s world have lost their attraction. The age of the Noble Knight, Loyal Samurai, and Holy Saints have seemed to been diluted in a time which screams equality over all our media. Things are more politically correct today than they have ever been. If we are so concerned with how our actions violate others emotions why aren’t we filled with right living from shore to coast and the valley to mountains? What exactly is virtue and why is it important? Why should we all strive for a virtuous character? By building our virtue we are building a better life.
Virtue can mean a number of things. The most common understanding of virtue is, “conformity to a standard of right in a particular moral excellence; a beneficial quality or power of a thing. With deeper definitions such as manly strength, courage and capacity to act. (Miriam-Webster) If we were to sum up the whole of this we could say, virtue when developed will be seen as a power to get things done amidst adversity as a result of moral excellence from conforming to a standard of right. There are many religions which teach morality and right living. Philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and Socrates encourage people to cultivate virtue. Plato said, “Virtue is a kind of health, beauty and a good habit of the soul.” Virtue is a healthy habit which we can cultivate by chasing excellence.
Virtue earns us credibility. Part of any teaching of what is right will be honesty. How many of us want to be confident our friends will follow through every time on what they say they’re going to do? How about the other way around, the confidence that comes with knowing when we say something it will be done? In a world where 2/3 of people believe people can’t be trusted (USA Today) and about 76% of people say it’s OK to lie, (credit donkey) it’s easy to see why people are naturally suspicious of people’s credibility. When we build a character of credibility we set ourselves apart from the masses.
The more virtuous we become the more quality our relationships become. Our excellence in life and our desire to complete goodness increase our quality as a person, and so as a result our love and compassion towards others grow. Seeking first to understand others because we care about them as part of our development. Who among us does not want to be listened to? Do any of us wish to be mostly misunderstood? Today less than 2% of people have had any formal education on how to listen. (PR Daily) is it a wonder than that when we meet a person who listens to us, understands us, and genuinely cares about us, they would be a great friend?
Cultivating virtue develop resilience and persistence. These two qualities may be two of the most important characteristics to have in today’s world. Resilience is our ability to resist, absorb, recover quickly from difficulties. Persistence is our ability to continue firmly in a course of action despite adversity. Cultivating virtue develops these by being a lifelong quest with many more failures than successes. We progress through each failure, learn from them and try again knowing we may never be perfect. Throughout this journey our tests seem to only escalate with each advancement. Being the path of much adversity these two valuable qualities will enrich each facet of our being.
You may say nice guys finish last, or may believe the journey to goodness lame and boring. Growing up I thought the same thing. I have felt the abuse from being the nice guy who often felt finished last. Through my young adult years I thought goody two shoes were lame because they didn’t party the way I did. Why would I want to play board games? This is far from the truth. With virtue comes wisdom. The more we grow in virtue, learning about who we are and how to become better versions of ourselves, the more the doors of opportunities become unlocked. The deeper our conversations go. The more meaningful relationships become. Trust me, the drama is still there, only instead of frustration or bitterness accompanying it, learning experiences and challenges arise. Earlier I mentioned throughout our journey the tests seem to escalate. This is true. With each new level comes a different devil.
Cultivate virtue and we grow a better life.
Through the process we develop resilience and persistence, our relationships become deeper and more meaningful. Through our criticalness our honesty develops our credibility and we stand out among the masses. Our fight to moral excellence is a learning experience of which we are to become the truest versions of we.
Is this call to virtue for everyone? Everyone might not journey to constant new levels, different devils, failure after failure, and living accountable. Though everyone should go this quest. No, some will choose to remain stagnant. Some will cower away from this uncertainty, remaining protected by the idea of, "I am who I am, I'm not changing for anyone." To choose the path toward virtue or to ignore the path is now where we rest. Should we ignore the path, we will remain in ignorance of our true potential, and never reach the riches of our royalty. Those who are brave and walk fearlessly into the darkness toward the uncertainty of the new us, will discover more than they ever thought about the highest form of we. We will see royalty. There is no higher aim for man than to choose virtue, for all good things that a man can have come from it.
The BA2L is real,
Be Addicted to Life.