Virtues for a life of substance

An anonymous verse that brings out the essential virtues attributed to a life of substance reads, “Standing for what you believe in, regardless of the odds against you and the pressure that tears at your resistance - means courage; Keeping a smile on your face for the sake of supporting others, when inside you feel like dying - means strength.

Stopping at nothing, doing what’s in your heart and you know to be right - means determination; Doing more than is expected to make another person’s life a little more bearable, without uttering a single complaint - means compassion; Helping a friend in need and to the best of your ability, no matter what time or effort that is required - means loyalty; Giving more than you have and expecting nothing in return - means selflessness; Holding your head high, being the best you know you can be when life seems to fall apart at your feet, facing each difficulty with the confidence that time will bring you better tomorrows and never giving up - means commitment, faith and confidence.”

Courage, strength, determination, compassion, loyalty, selflessness, commitment, faith and confidence are indeed comprehensive qualities that will transform a mediocre person into an extraordinary human being. Yet, an average man knows that imbibing these virtues into daily living is a daunting task.  The question whether one can be in full control of these virtues all one’s life can never be answered with certainty. Temptations and human frailties are bound to come in the way.

Even so, a perfectly virtuous life is within a common man’s reach. Here’s how:“Assume the virtue, if you have it not,” said Shakespeare, the literary genius who, through his immortal plays and poetry proclaimed to the world that ultimate victory in life is achieved only through the practice of good virtues. The most assured way in getting to be virtuous therefore is to act as if we already possessed the virtue we wish to live by.

For instance, the virtue of loyalty can easily be mastered by acting loyal even in the face of discouragement. Overtime, loyalty will become second nature.

Reading autobiographies and biographies of great men is another effective way to inculcate good virtues in our living. Men of substance who have walked the planet contributing to its progress and standing as illustrious examples of virtuous heroes are everlasting inspirations to the world and getting to know them will influence our own characters positively.

Finally, the innumerable benefits that will accrue to us by living a life of values ought to be constantly comprehended and internalised. Slowing and yet steadily, that small, still voice within us will be our constant guide enabling us to live a life of substance!

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