A new year provides a fresh opportunity for everyone to achieve his or her moral best. The list below presents the top five virtues we should all work towards in 2011 to raise consciousness of our personal flaws and provide us with a benchmark with which to improve. This will increase not only our individual enhancement, but will aid in encouraging others to do the same.
- FORGIVENESS—Grudges are incredibly heavy burdens to bear. They eat away at our insides and corrode our perspective, constantly reminding us of the past wrongs we endured at the hands of another. Mustering up the strength to finally let it all go can sometimes be the hardest thing to do, but can also be the most liberating. Philip Yancey once wrote, “forgiveness is the only way to break the cycle.”
- FOCUS—Keeping our concentration on what matters the most is how we can stay on track and away from distractions, and, unfortunately, distractions appear in all forms. It is up to us to remain on the path using whatever motivation we have at our disposal. I highly suggest depending on spirituality for this one.
- PATIENCE—A Greek proverb declares “one minute of patience, ten years of peace.” It is impossible not to know someone with stories of how their time was wasted and how upset they were during those times. Complaining about the length of DMV lines is easier than accepting them and coming prepared with a book or iPod for distraction. The struggle with patience is in learning how to be patient, which is a rather difficult thing to do. Perhaps 2011 can change that.
- RESPONSIBILITY—Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we all were accountable for our own actions? Take the case of Ruben Gonzales, the Chino Sinners gang member who pleaded no contest to extortion of a man he met at a Pomona parole office and sentenced to 20 years yesterday. Clearly, Gonzales is not a positive example of this, as judicial intervention should not be the deciding factor in a person’s motivation to do what is right. However, as long as consequences of the actions are acknowledged and the understanding of possible repercussions exists, society improves by that much when possible negative actions are deterred.
- TEMPERANCE—Abstinence and excess should be approached with caution, since the “too” in both too little and too much of something indicates a negative. Moderation is the key. Balancing our actions (from eating to defending honor) will not only prevent us from tipping in favor of either extreme, but guide us in choosing our indulgences more wisely.