Posts in virtue
Focusing on One Virtue to Perfect
One of Stephen Covey's first concepts in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People deals with Benjamin Franklin's concept of character development.  As opposed to personality traits, Franklin tried to become a better person, one virtue at a time.  His virtues included:

  • temperance

  • silence

  • order

  • resolution

  • frugality

  • industry

  • sincerity

  • justice

  • moderation

  • cleanliness

  • tranquility

  • chastity

  • and humility

Not a bad list of items to work on.  Just attempting to improve on one per year would yield a tremendous result.  From a productivity perspective and certainly in concert with GTD philosophy, getting things done takes discipline, tranquility, order, resolution...we could continue.

I posted earlier in the week about working on virtue as an important part of being more influential. Franklin would agree and I suspect that David Allen would too.  He said recently in a Lifehacker interview that "You only need to fine tune the engine to the point where it's not on your mind."  Sounds like a process of virtue/character improvement to me.  We're not talking about virtue in a moralistic way.  It's about getting things done, based on a lifestyle that is constantly trying to improve.

Which virtue will you focus on today?
How to Let Your Virtue be Influential
How do you measure influence at work or in your social circle?  It might be by the size of your home or the car you drive.  It might be by your title.  Or, it just might be measured by the scope of your virtue.

Blessed Charles de Foucauld, (19th century Frenchman who inspired the founding of the Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus) once wrote, "There is always work to be done by example, goodness and the gentle influence of virtue rather than advice."

These words of wisdom touch each of us where we are at.  For the mother at home with small children, her example of patience and love is a testimony of virtue.  Kids pick up on these things- and eventually mymic them.  Or, take the top-flight CEO who tries to practice honesty and integrity.  When the deal comes across his desk that just smells of something fishy, he will do the right thing- and people will be watching.

All of us can be a person of profound virtuous influence.  Who will your virtue influence today?