As of late, I've been reading Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
My Dad gave me this book when I was in my early twenties. But, I never read it.
I'm not sure why, especially since he told me that it was the single greatest book he'd ever read. Maybe it just wasn't my time to be introduced to Covey.
As 2016 is coming to a close, I've felt strangely drawn to the book. I'm currently only halfway through it, but it's challenged me to pen a personal mission statement, as well as define some core values for myself.
Soon enough, I'll finish my mission statement and share it here. But, in the meantime, I wanted to share something with you guys that I wrote when I was in India at age 26.
I wrote these moral virtues, or core values, more than five years ago. And I'm shocked by how they've held up. They're still very much true for my life!
Which brings me to my point. I'm sharing this list with you because I want to encourage you to write your own as soon as possible.
The younger you start defining yourself the better.
Below you'll find my original post from my Facebook page on June 10, 2011.
I believe it has been a few years now since I first heard Kris Valloton of Bethel Church share about moral virtues. He talked about those that Benjamin Franklin drafted as a young man and lived by his entire life. Kris also penned his own originals, and both of those have served as inspiration for my list.
I'm posting this to not only share with you my personal virtues, but also to encourage you to draft your own.
These have come about during my quiet times with God while here in the sweltering summer of India; overshadowed by the beautiful sounds of children's voices that are now... home.
"The unexamined life is not worth living." — Plato
1. Love unconditionally.
Everything flows from intimacy with God. Love for Him comes first and the first fruits of every day are His. Love people dangerously, especially when they stand a chance to hurt you. Always beg the question, "What does love look like in this situation/relationship?"
2. Serve without expectation.
Wash feet. Act in service often, especially when you won't be paid for your efforts. Serve in secret, those that publicize their sweat have their reward. If you have to, bleed at the expense of a stranger.
3. Embrace identity.
You are a son of God. History is supposed to be different because you are alive. Respect and stand up for yourself. Your ideas are important, never be afraid to share them. You are valuable, you have a voice, so let the world hear it.
4. Be humble.
Know your place at the table. Don't consume conversation and never name drop. Every promotion you receive is meant to be shared with others. Don't pursue fame, pursue God - a man can receive nothing unless it is given to him from heaven.
5. Family first.
The dreams your family carry are also your own. You're own family is never collateral damage on the pathway to success. Share in their victories and failures. Support your family, never rejoice when they stumble or plot after their downfall.
6. Remember honor.
Honor everyone. Each individual possesses something that you don't. Respect authority and embrace order. Never absorb the limelight - share it with others regardless of whether or not you feel they deserve it.
7. Address fear.
Fear no man. Fear no devil. Fear God - it is Him who has control over your eternal destiny. Aggressively attack and cut away ALL fear in and around you, it must never be tolerated. Expect it to arise and prepare to confront it without any hesitation.
8. Pursue discipline.
Daily improve. Practice spiritual disciplines, read and study literature, exercise, and keep a healthy diet. Don't leave today's responsibilities for tomorrow. Handle your business with excellence. Do not tolerate filth in your home, your wardrobe, nor your words. Rest is required - schedule it and don't substitute it for anything. Rest is a weapon, not a weakness. And, don't spend too much time on the internet, it's poison to industry.
9. Become wealthy.
Wealth is more than money and money is more than just a means to meet a need. Resources are a necessity, and they hold great power. Never partner with the belief that you are not supposed to be abundantly financially blessed. Strategically save money. Invest when opportunities arise. Leave an inheritance for your kids kids. Never spend compulsively nor make large purchases that will be of no use in 5 years.
10. Smile, laugh, and have FUN!
Be a "yes" man. Embrace adventure and live in awe of life. Smile often, laugh more, and enjoy yourself. Happiness is contagious, share it with everyone - especially strangers. Engage in activities you'll one day want to tell your grandchildren about. Never lean against the wall when everyone else is dancing!
11. Leave a legacy.
Always push the envelope. Dream ridiculously. Your laboring for not only yourself, your family, your generation, but every generation after you. Make daily decisions with a 100 year plan. Don't be futility involved in anything that will not bear fruit long after your gone.
And there you have it, my rules for life.
Benjamin Franklin's virtues can be found here.