It's been said that we need to defeat our vices and model our virtues. But what is a virtue?
There are 7 heavenly virtues that were formerly mentioned by Pope Gregory I in the 6th Century, and later expanded upon by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century. These virtues are: humility, charity, chastity, gratitude, temperance, patience, and diligence.
But long before Pope's and Saints, the Stoic philosopher, Aristotle, postulated the Virtue Theory. The Virtue Theory emphasizes an individuals character rather than following a set of rules. Aristotle believed that if your focus was on being a good person, the right actions would flow from that behavior.
Furthermore, Aristotle said that having virtue was simply doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, in the right amount, toward the right people. Virtue is the sweet spot between the vices of excess and deficiency.
So how does a person learn to be virtuous? According to Aristotle, virtue is a practical wisdom. It is a skill, a character development, a way of living that could only be learned by your own experiences.
Aristotle believed that your character was developed through "habituation," which means that by doing something virtuous over and over, that habit becomes part of your character.
Character is something that is caught not taught. You're not going to read a book or take a class and emerge as someone of good character. Character is developed by emulating the good you see other people doing and refraining from doing the bad you are exposed to.
What makes people want to have good character and become virtuous? Virtue Theory says you should become virtuous because if you do, you can reach the "pinnacle of humanity," which means a life well lived.
However, a well-lived life does not mean everything will be great, actually it means just the opposite. It means you will constantly be setting new goals and pushing yourself to achieve those goals. It means never being satisfied with your current situation. It means constantly striving to improve.
Does leading a virtuous life sound appealing? Is a life well-lived something that sounds like something you want to strive toward?
To learn more about The Virtue Theory, check out the video below. Also, leave me a comment about your thoughts regarding living a life of a virtuous person leads to striving to always be the best.
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Author & Motivational Speaker
Terry is a sought after speaker who believes in the power of a story to motivate, inspire, and help others lead their uncommon and extraordinary lives. By combining his eleven-year cancer journey with his diverse business, athletic coaching, and hostage negotiating expertise, he delivers compelling yet relatable presentations for conferences, on-line events, panels, meetings, and seminars.