Personal & Professional Virtues
The virtue of prudence (practical wisdom) refers to our ability to carefully consider how we can achieve our goal. Prudence is characterized as an ‘executive disposition’ because its outcome is something to be executed. It can be examined on two levels: the level of purpose (our ability to set worthy goals) and the level of deliberation (our ability to carefully consider the course and the means of our actions so as to achieve the desired goals).
It is through intuitive insight that the mind grasps the principles of conduct that may point the way toward success and happiness. The virtue of insightfulness refers to our ability to perceive things correctly, to examine circumstances correctly, to understand the relationships between things, to analyse and synthesize. It determines our capacity to learn what is the right thing to do and what is not, and to transfer this knowledge to various contexts in order to achieve our best interest that contributes to our well-being.
The virtue of courage refers to the management of risk taking, and it is described as the productive mean between cowardice (a deficiency) and audacity or fearlessness (an excess). A courageous person pursues (not necessarily without fear) the right goals, for the right reasons, in the right way, at the right time and for the right amount of time. Therefore, a person who is courageous acts and endures whatever is logically required for the attainment of a worthy goal. Courage (which always involves a risk) is a necessary means for the further development of one’s capacities.
The virtue of honor refers to our disposition to seek honors and recognition from others. This virtue is defined as the mean between lack of ambition (when we seek less honors and recognition than we deserve or we have no desire for honors) and over-ambitiousness (when we have an excessive desire for honors or when we seek more honors and recognition than we deserve).
Honesty refers to our ability to tell the truth about ourselves and demonstrate to others who we really are, without denying or exaggerating our qualities. This virtue is the mean between self-deprecation (deficiency) and boastfulness (excess).
The virtue of fairness refers to our disposition to act in such a way that allows benefit and damage to be fairly distributed to those who deserve them, either between ourselves and others or amongst others. Fairness is the mother of all virtues, and for one to be truly fair they have all virtues developed (‘Fairness is superior to all virtues and excellent – Aristotle’).
The virtue of generosity refers to the management of things that are of value (e.g. time, money, knowledge, information, other assets, etc.). It is defined as the productive mean between stinginess (deficiency) and wastefulness (excess). For example, knowledge needs to be shared with the right person, at the right time, in the right quantity, and in the right way, in order for it to be used in a productive way. Therefore, in meeting the needs of others, the amount of one’s generosity should be governed not only by their ability to give but also by whether this amount will be in harmony with the long-term interests of those being served. One should follow the guidance of reason, as generosity is something that needs to be exercised with wisdom if it is to promote one’s own and others’ good.
The virtue of friendliness refers to the management of our amicability in our interactions with others. It is defined as the mean between rudeness (deficiency) and obsequiousness (excess). A rude person enjoys conflict, without taking into consideration whether it displeases or embarrasses others. An obsequious person demonstrates servitude and is mostly interested in being likable to others, avoiding conflict even at great personal cost.
The virtue of humor is described as the mean between boorishness and buffoonery. The boorish person does not enjoy humor, might even be unduly upset or annoyed by it. On the other hand, the buffoon is someone who enjoys humor in excess, expresses it in an unproductive way, with inappropriate timing or frequency, possibly causing annoyance to others.
The virtue of calmness refers to the management of anger. It is the mean between spiritlessness and irritability. Spiritlessness refers to the lack of anger (deficiency), while irritability refers to the excess of anger, in its duration, intensity and frequency. The calm person desires to remain calm and not get carried away by passion or rage, but always within reasonable limits.
The virtue of temperance refers to the management of our desires and is the mean between insensibility and intemperance. A temperate person is one who desires moderately and reasonably all those pleasures that promote health and wellness.
The virtue of magnificence is defined as the mean between paltriness and vulgarity. Paltriness prevails when someone contributes to a cause with a miserly disposition. On the contrary, vulgarity is displayed when someone contributes excessively, much more than is required or expected.
The virtue of magnanimity is defined as the mean between meekness and vanity. A meek person believes that they do not deserve great honors while they actually do deserve them, whereas a vain person believes that they deserve great honors while they actually do not deserve them. The magnanimous (magnum=great) consider they deserve the greatest goods (wealth, influence, prestige, distinctions etc.) when they do indeed deserve them.
Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences. It gives people access to their own cognitive resources, enabling cool-headed analysis of what might have gone wrong and consideration of behavioral paths that might be more productive. Resilience is not some magical quality; it takes real mental work to transcend hardship.