Virtue, sadly, is not a word we commonly use in our society today. When we do, often we mistakenly minimize the word to merely mean sexual purity. While that meaning is listed at merriam-webster.com, it is 6th on the list. The first 5 definitions add much depth to the meaning of virtue:
- conformity to a standard of right; a particular moral excellence
- a beneficial quality or power of a thing
- manly strength or courage (added note from me: women are not to be excluded)
- a commendable quality or trait
- a capacity to act
This is the 6th in a series of 10 attributes that I have chosen to write about. I contend that if you display these 10 attributes and they are increasing in you, you will indeed be successful. Whether you are a leader, follower, thinker, doer, worker, volunteer, married, or single. . . success is yours if you devote time and energy to increasingly exhibiting these 10 attributes.
Chances are high that if you conform to a particular moral excellence, you will exhibit in the eyes of mankind the quality of “goodness”. Living a life of virtue does not require that you live as everyone else does, or that you live with the same definition of moral excellence as others, but it does result in (mostly) everyone else recognizing you as having a quality of life that is hard to take offense with. A life of virtue has such integrity that part of its definition of moral excellence includes how it deals and interacts with lives lived differently.
Identifiers such as “beneficial quality”, “power”, “strength”, “courage”, “commendable quality”, and “capacity to act” must be taken together to truly identify what virtue looks like in our lives. Power is too often abused. The strong too often take advantage of the weak. This has been true throughout human history, but that does mean it needs to be accepted. People of virtue live out a better truth. Power and strength are displayed but with a desire to be of benefit to others, to have the courage & capacity to take action when the need arises. The lives of virtuous people are seen as commendable, even if the observers would not live in exactly the manner.
Your definition of moral excellence may vary, but a standard of right vs. wrong is generally universal. Those involved in wrongdoing usually know they are involved in wrongdoing (hint: it has a lot to do with the motives of the heart). If that is not the case, then virtue will be somewhere between difficult and impossible for them to achieve. If you are reading this blog, you can be assured you do not fall into this category.
Your definition of success may vary, but when success is achieved it will result in overall health – physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. I commend to you that the pursuit of a life of virtue, that is the pursuit of all the qualities of virtue listed above, will essentially guarantee you success in your life. Blessings to you as you engage in the pursuit of virtue!