While our resume lists out all of the things we have achieved – the positions, the titles, our degrees and prizes, our eulogy describes who we are when those titles, awards, degrees and prizes have been stripped away.
Our eulogy will describe our virtues.
Our virtues embody how we serve and, ultimately, how we will be remembered. What will your legacy be? You need look no further than virtue.
Virtues aren’t something we’re born with, they are something we grow into through life experience, habit, and emulation. Most critically, they are fortified through dedicated practice.
Ultimately, we are what we repeatedly practice.
Whether we’re at the gym, a restaurant, in our workplace or our homes, we assimilate what we repeatedly practice in all areas of our lives. Generosity, courage, and patience are cultivated no differently than strength, stamina, and flexibility — through dedicated practice.
We never practice in isolation either. Our habits of behavior affect our children, our colleagues, and our communities. As Jim Rohn says, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with…so, I say invest wisely! Just as the ability to hold a 10-minute plank is a result of endurance training that inspires the person planking next to you or the person in your virtual community, our virtues are the result of a type of endurance training that both strengthen us and the human collective.
Think of it as karma…not the mainstream use of karma, which tends to focus on other people’s pain and suffering for their misdeeds, but karma as a neutral force that is personal to your development. Karma is a law that just is – like gravity – nothing to be fearful of, but something to be extremely cognizant of. The power of your thoughts, words, intentions, and…virtues. Your body responds from here, your actions stem from here, and the effect is produced. During a season in which your life doesn’t feel right, it’s natural to look outward, but it is essential to look inward.
Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind…what we sow is what we reap. And when we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success.” ~Chopra Center (read more here)
Which virtues are you known for? Which ones are you currently practicing? Do you recognize the gift in whatever adversity or personal challenge you are experiencing?
For example, a hostile work environment may seem incredibly unfair at face value until you realize how much it is strengthening your ability to stay centered, how much it is strengthening your courage and conviction to leave and start that business you always dreamt about.
Getting spit on feels incredibly degrading in the moment, but sometimes we need degrading to make change. When we’re in denial, we invite karma to show us. To show us what we really do not want. This contrast is often more powerful than the glimpse of what we do want.
I invite you to take inventory this week. Inventory of the virtues you wish to cultivate..and the qualities you wish to release…in order to have the eulogy desired and the life intended. The truth-facing work we undertake this week will take us from vision…with our dignity intact…into virtue. Our virtue will carry us over any obstacles to fulfill our life purpose.
As you peruse the quotes I have selected below, you will see there is considerable debate over which virtue is the most important. It’s entirely personal…personal to your life right now. Certain virtues will jump out at you as the most important to cultivate for your current situation. Which one(s) speak to you? Share with me or share with a trusted ally. Telling someone sets things in motion more quickly.
The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue; courage is only the second virtue.” ~Napoleon Bonaparte
Courage: the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” ~Maya Angelou
A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.” ~Cicero
Self respect is the cornerstone of all virtue.” ~John Herschel
Patience is a virtue. The moon and the sun learned long ago that, if each patiently waits its turn, they will both have their chance to shine.” ~Unknown
Love is the virtue of the heart, sincerity is the virtue of the mind, decision is the virtue of the will, courage is the virtue of the spirit.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright
A virtuous character is the fruit of self-discipline and good habits. (Good habits are difficult to form, but easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to form, but difficult to live with.)” ~David Tuffley
Do you want to explore VIRTUE further? Click here for quotes, mantras, and our willPower dedicated weekly exercise. This week, I show you how to practice VIRTUE in triangle with reverse rotation. Find the video here.