During my friend Aaron's funeral last week, everyone who spoke about him either directly or indirectly reflected upon his top virtues: empathy, kindness, and hope. Aaron embodied these virtues while he was with us, and now we can all look to express these virtues more deeply as a way to honor him and the life he led.
Even if you only spent one minute with Aaron, these virtues shone through. From all accounts, it was impossible to have an interaction with Aaron without him expressing empathy while he listened to you and sought to understand, kindness as he aimed to help and serve, and hope as he looked towards an equitable future for all.
Now I turn it to you, how do you want to be remembered?
Whether at the end of your life, or at the end of a short interaction, what virtues do you want to be felt by those you interacted with and loved?
In the Optimize Coach Program, which I help coordinate and run, we share a long list of virtues to choose from. There are hundreds to choose from, but which of them do you want to express? Which of them do you want to be known and remembered for?
Virtue is defined as “a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being.” Living our virtues help us combat viciousness in the World, and in ourselves. Our virtues can serve as our guiding stars when we keep them conscious and intentionally bring them into our actions and ways of being.
What virtues drive you?
I encourage you to first see what virtues come to mind, and then scan the list of virtues I’ve linked above to see if any others stick out for you.
Though my top virtues are ever-changing, I am bringing the most intentionality to three virtues right now:
- Curiosity: I remain curious about what’s possible in my life and the life of others. My curiosity drives and engages me to consider and remain open to many possibilities.
- Hope: I believe in a better future for all of us. I aim to have this shine through in any conversation I have.
- Presence: I aim to remain present to who I’m with, and what I’m doing. Though this feels like the virtue that is hardest for me to apply, I find it very important.
(Bonus: Take the free VIA Character Strengths test to learn more about your top virtues.)
Now, how can you more deeply express at least one of those virtues in the next thing you do today? What does applying 5% more intentionality to that virtue do for the people around you?
Pick three and start living them more consistently today. Use your virtues to more consistently be the person you want to be so that you can be remembered the way you wish to be remembered.