Welcome to my series on self reflection as part of my journey during this current deployment to an undisclosed location. I find myself in need of an outlet of random thoughts that help encourage me and hopefully you can find some use for it as well. Comments are always welcome and dialogue is definite plus as part of this exercise. Thanks for reading!
One concept out of the myriads of things and stuff I love about the Society for Creative Anachronism is the constant discussion of virtues and honorable conduct. In the military there are core values and many companies include codes of conduct and extensive documents outlining expected employee behavior. Christianity outlines seven heavenly virtues and many other religions offer up their morale compasses, but what I enjoy about the SCA is the constant search for a personal set of virtues. Just as varied as the Society is in demographics, there are a wide variety of virtues and to me it is less about the content from person to person, but more about the journey to determine just what those are.
I have witnessed some households and peers outline virtues to their members and dependents, but I’ve also been privy to the practice of encouraging individuals to seek their own. Issuing a person a set of morals is not a new practice. As I indicated earlier, many religions, governments, businesses and organizations outline expectations for behavior. I have always found it useful to capture organizational values in my own words and understanding. I have even developed my own leadership and behavioral models to ensure that I can demonstrate understanding and ultimately influence the organization as a whole if I feel the need to change course or keep everyone on the same path. By developing a personal set of virtues that are nested within the spirit and intent of the overall organization I can keep my personal moral compass, personal and still align my goals with that of the parent group. It helps with marching to the beat of the same drum and all that good stuff.
For me, I share my virtues with the online gaming community that I have operated for over 15 years, the Silver Sun Republic. These virtues have even spilled over into my own business and help encapsulate how I function as a leader in the military and the volunteer organizations in which I participate. Over the next several months I will meditate and reflect upon these virtues to help strengthen myself and encourage others to discover their personal values and virtues. Regardless of what you choose for your personal virtues, consistency is one of the keys. It can help you pre-decide how you’re going to act in a situation. By meditating and reflecting upon each one you can conjure up scenarios in which you may have to demonstrate these virtues. In an organization driven by honor and courtesy, virtues provide you a bedrock from which you can contribute positively.
For me, my personal virtues consist of Faith, Strength, Nobility, Mercy, Justice, Hope and Prowess. Each one is interconnected and bolsters the other to help me make decisions and act in a respectful manner to contribute positively to my community and environment.
Faith is important to me because it reminds me to celebrate trials and tribulations in life. By having faith in myself, others and a higher calling I am able to endure greater stress to come out on top. When I struggle with faith I find that I am much more vulnerable to making poor choices and ultimately being unhappy.
Strength covers a wide variety of characteristics, but mainly I focus on strength of mind, body and soul. If I am not getting stronger, I am getting weaker. I work to strengthen my body, mind and soul to stay healthy so that I am able to contribute to my community.
Nobility is a matter of providing charity and benefit to those around me because of the position in which I find myself. Any rise in my social or economic station is to benefit those around me, not to be selfish and greedy. I rise because I am surrounded by a supportive community and will in turn benefit those to whom I owe my success.
Mercy keeps me grounded and guides me down a path of strength through forgiveness to those around me. There is no need to press such an advantage as to completely destroy one who may have trespassed against me. A truly strong individual shows strength in mercy because they will be able to overcome an adversary should they attempt to take advantage of one who is merciful.
Justice is a core element of truly loving yourself and your neighbors as one will understand when to speak honestly about a misdeed rather than turning a blind eye to it. I will seek satisfaction of the law as it requires regardless of personal opinions or emotions. The law has no bias; only those who sit unfairly in judgment to apply the law harden their hearts to its true purpose.
Hope drives me to serve as the rallying point when all else is thought to be lost. Despise the words of those who despair and lift them up through actions of courage, bravery and righteous example. When all others falter it is the one who is hopeful who takes up the banner and leads the charge towards victory.
Prowess is my gift back to the community and the one who grants me life every day. In celebration and appreciation for the life I have been given I will strive to hone my skills to the best of my ability. In developing prowess I become more valuable to my community and will be in a position to contribute positively.
These are my virtues and I use them to question my own behavior each day. I will reflect upon my day and ask myself if I held to my faith, if I was strong, noble, merciful, just, hopeful and advanced my prowess in some way. If I have to respond internally with a “no” then I consider what I need to do in order to make sure I do not make the same mistake tomorrow or the next day. No one is perfect, but even if I make a little progress then I will be moving in the right direction. If I’m not getting stronger, I am getting weaker.
Source: Brando’s Personal Feed