No matter what our backgrounds or beliefs are, many of us are committed to becoming the best versions of ourselves. I recently attended a workshop that introduced me to a global movement known as the Virtues Project. The Virtues Project hopes to inspire others to practice virtues in daily life in order to ignite a revolution of kindness, justice, and integrity.
The Virtues Project resonates with me because it encourages me to be more aware of teachable moments in my everyday life. On the second day of the Virtues Project workshop, I decided to exhibit the virtue of “reliability” by leaving my house 15 minutes earlier.
As I opened my garage door in preparation to leave early, I was greeted by a construction crew working with a large and immovable machine, which directly obstructed my driveway. My immediate response was, “Oh my goodness, I need to show ‘respect’ and ‘reliability’ by being on time, but how am I supposed to get out of my driveway?”
I took a few deep breaths to calm myself down and proceeded to inform the construction workers about my urgency to pass through. The blank look on their faces indicated to me that it would likely take a miracle to move the machine away from my driveway in time, and indeed they told me it would take several hours to move the machine.
At that moment, I almost entered into a panic mode, but I paused and quickly went through my options. I had two options:
1) freak out on construction workers, demanding that they move the equipment no matter how difficult it would be; or
2) ask them to brainstorm ideas for helping me exit my driveway without moving the equipment. I soon realized it was a great opportunity for me to exercise practicing virtues such as “understanding”, “consideration”, and “creativity”. Seizing this opportunity, I decided to show “patience” and “flexibility” rather than expressing anger and frustration.
After some thought and discussion, the construction workers helped guide my car out of my driveway by laying down plywood boards on my neighbor’s lawn so that I could drive around the equipment without causing any damage to the grass (in an effort to practice “responsibility” and “consideration”). Before heading off, I decided to show some “friendliness” by giving them high fives to celebrate our “cooperation”.
It amazes me how such a small incident like “getting out of the driveway” can be a teachable moment for me to practice some of these virtues. The virtues acted as a guide to help me solve problems while demonstrating respect for others and myself.
Virtues are good qualities that lie within the human spirit. They transcend cultures, ethnicities, and beliefs, because they are the essence of what it means to be authentic.
The following is a list of virtues: assertiveness, caring, cleanliness, compassion, confidence, consideration, courage, courtesy, creativity, detachment, determination, enthusiasm, excellence, faithfulness, flexibility, forgiveness, friendliness, generosity, gentleness, helpfulness, honesty, honor, humility, idealism, joyfulness, justice, kindness, love, loyalty, mercy, moderation, modesty, obedience, orderliness, patience, peacefulness, prayerfulness, purposefulness, reliability, respect, responsibility, reverence, self-discipline, service, steadfastness, tact, thankfulness, tolerance, trust, trustworthiness, truthfulness, and unity.
With that said, how have you used your virtues bless others? What are some virtues you want to cultivate?