As a Master Facilitator with The Virtues Project™, I ever increasingly understand that behaviour modification is often transitory.  It is based on the management of the relationship between actions and consequences.  Still, we do not often make a permanent link to same and will fall back into questionable habits.

Character development is about practicing pre-existent virtues.  Dale Carnegie once said “Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic.”  This has wisdom but focuses on behaviour modification. I would suggest, act with enthusiasm and you will be enthusiastic. This is true of all virtues.  Act with compassion and you will compassionate.  Act with creativity and you will be creative.  I will often refer to the virtues as arrows in my quiver; they are there, permanent and ready to be drawn forth.  They are not conditional.  They are not transitory.  Virtues exist, period.  They are ready to be accessed; to be called upon whenever needed.

When I face a particular situation, applying the 5 steps of strategic leadership:

  • identify the situation
  • analyze the circumstances
  • develop a plan
  • implement the plan through action, and
  • evaluate the results.

… I will consider what virtues are relevant; what strengths of character are demanded.  In so doing, I will foster a plan of action grounded in the application of those virtues.  Strengths of character, according to The Virtues Project™, are accessible to us all.  We draw upon them and practice them.  They are not unlike an ocean from which we can draw strength.  The ocean is there.  It exists, whether we draw upon it or not.

With this in mind, here is a list of 100 Virtues.  Download it.  Have it as a reference.  When facing an issue, examine the situation not strictly from a behavioural perspective.  Consider what virtues are being called into action.  Let that be the foundation.  When developing your plan of action, consider how those virtues need be manifested.  Practice them.  As you do, the character quotient becomes the foundation for the behaviour question.

Behaviour is born of character, but character is practiced in behaviour.  Consider character as the soil and behaviour the tree.  Enrich the soil and watch the tree grow.

Peace, passion and prosperity

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™