CORE VIRTUE – COURAGE – Exercising the will to accomplish goals in the face of external or internal opposition/
I. Bravery [valor]: Bravery is the capacity to take action to aid others in spite of significant risks or dangers. This strength allows people to avoid shrinking from the threats, challenges, or pain associated with attempting to do good works. Brave acts are undertaken voluntarily with full knowledge of the potential adversity involved. Brave individuals place the highest importance on higher purpose and morality, no matter what the consequences might be.
Movies: Schindler’s List (1993), Life as a House (2001)
- Resist social or peer pressure for noble values and causes in meaningful ways (write, speak out, participate in a protest, join an activist organization).
- Speak up for or write about an unpopular idea in a group.
- Take small, practical steps for a constructive social change.
- Report an injustice, abuse, blatant unethical practice, or abuse of power or resources to appropriate authorities, even if the perpetrator is someone close to you.
- Protect or stand up for someone (such as a younger sibling or a battered woman) who will not otherwise stand up for themselves.
- Ask difficult questions that help you and others face reality.
- Clarify your values by thinking about how best they have served you in challenging situations.
- Cultivate a reputation for recognizing and appreciating brave acts which are accomplished despite challenges.
- Identify an area in which you generally shy away from confrontations. Practice the phrases, the tones, and the mannerisms that will enable you to effectively confront the situation next time.
- Collect contemporary stories of bravery in everyday life situations.
- Don’t be afraid to be different but positive.
- Don’t be afraid to befriend someone who is different but positive.
II. Persistence [perseverance, industriousness]: Persistence is the mental strength necessary to continue striving for one’s goals in the face of obstacles and setbacks. This sort of perseverance requires dedication, focus, and patience. Persistent individuals finish what they start, persisting in the quest to achieve their goals in spite of any hardships they encounter along the way. The broader and more ambitious one’s goals are, the more necessary persistence is in order to achieve them.
Movies: The Piano (1993), The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
Songs: My Way (Frank Sinatra), On the Road to Find Out (Cat Stevens)
- Plan a big project and finish it ahead of time.
- Select two activities that you find engaging and meaningful and give 100% to them.
- Set five small goals weekly. Break them into practical steps, accomplish them on time, and monitor your progress from week to week.
- Work harder than usual at your most important goal.
- Select a role-model who exemplifies perseverance and determine how you can follow her/his footsteps.
- Read an inspiring quotation or poem which motivates you to achieve your goals.
- Seed some flowering plants early in the spring and tender them throughout the summer.
- Write your goals and aims and post them where you can see them regularly. Let them inspire you.
- Manage a challenging task from start to finish at your work.
- Take control of at least one new situation at home or work, one that you can handle. If you fail, revise your plan but don’t give up until you finish.
- Regularly articulate your goals into specific actions. This helps you to stay motivated and persistent.
- Keep a checklist of things to do and regularly update it.
- Attend a seminar or workshop on time management.
- Share your goals with your loved ones. Let them inspire you regularly.
- Think about what you would like to accomplish in the next five years. Develop a road map and assess how your present skills match with your goals.
- Be aware how to cut your losses in tasks which don’t require persistence.
- For your next challenging task, make a realistic timeline.
III. Integrity [authenticity, honesty]: The strength of integrity is manifested speaking the truth and presenting oneself in a genuine way. A person of integrity is open and honest about his or her own thoughts, feelings, and responsibilities, being careful not to mislead through either action or omission. This strength allows one to feel a sense of ownership over one’s own internal states, regardless of whether those states are popular or socially comfortable, and to experience a sense of authentic
Movies: A Few Good Men (1992), Erin Brockovich (2000)
Songs: My Way (Frank Sinatra), Strength, Courage, Wisdom, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Lauryn Hill), The Rose (Bette Midler), On the Road to Find Out (Cat Stevens)
- Refrain from telling small, white lies to friends and family (including insincere compliments). If you do tell one, admit it and apologize right away.
- Think of creative yet honest ways of relating to others.
- Monitor every time you tell a lie, even if it is a small one. Try to make your list shorter every day.
- Monitor to catch lies of omission (such as not volunteering important information when selling a used item) and think how would you feel if someone did the same to you.
- Rate your satisfaction with authentic, honest, and genuine deeds vs. inauthentic and less then
- Monitor whether your next five significant actions match your words and vice-versa.
- Write on issues about which you feel moral obligation. It helps to crystallize and integrate thinking.
- Think and act fairly when your face the next challenge, regardless of its impact on your position or popularity.
- Identify your area of strongest moral convictions. Set your priorities according to your convictions.
- Seek roles with clear structure that allow you to be authentic and honest.
- Learn and practice the ethical standards of your profession.
IV. Vitality [zest, enthusiasm, vigor, energy]: Vitality is an approach to life marked by an appreciation for energy, liveliness, excitement, and energy. A vital person lives life as an adventure to be approached whole-heartedly. A life of vigor allows one to experience the overlap of the mental and physical realms of experience, as stress decreases and health increases. Vitality differs from contentment in that it involves greater psychological and physiological activation and enthusiasm.
Movies: Cinema Paradiso (1988, Italian), My Left Foot (1993), One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Songs: My Way (Frank Sinatra)
- Do something that you already do, but with more energy, including some creative and different elements.
- Exercise at least 2-3 times a week, and notice how it affects your energy level.
- Do a physical activity of your choice, one that you don’t “have to do” and that you are not told to do.
- Improve your sleep hygiene by establishing regular sleep time, eating 3-4 hours before sleeping, avoiding doing any work in the bed, not taking caffeine late in the evening, etc. Notice changes in your energy level.
- Think of ways to make an assignment exciting and engaging before you undertake it.
- Do a physically rigorous activity (bike riding, running, sports singing, playing) that you always wanted to do but have not done yet.
- Sing in a choir or play an instrument.
- Attend a dance club, concert, or a performing art event.
- Watch a sitcom or a comedy film weekly.
- Socialize with friends who like to laugh heartily.
- Do at least one outdoor activity weekly such as hiking, biking, mountain climbing, brisk walking, or jogging for 1 hour.
- Take time to celebrate your next two accomplishments and victories.
- Call old friend and reminisce good old times.
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