A Skald’s Life – Self Virtues – Selfishness is Good for Everyone

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“You’re being selfish” is an expression people might hear often when they are trying to do something for themselves.  When I look at the virtues of Discipline, Perseverance and Fidelity though its selfishness with a purpose.  All the virtues have an individual independence flavor to them but these three seem to be more inward focused with outward fruit if you understand me.  The Foundational Virtues are about all things.  The Business Virtues are outward focused with inward benefit but Self Virtues are inward focused with outward benefit.

Being focused on yourself is not necessarily selfish but if even if it is, as Ayn Rand points out in her book The Virtue of Selfishness, being selfish has a lot more benefits to others than you first realize. Those who accuse people of being selfish are often selfish themselves trying to get someone else to do something for them that benefits them.  A person who is self-reliant and focused on self does do one thing for everyone else – he is not a burden to them and their efforts.  By being self-focused, you at least don’t drag others down by being a leach on their prosperity or stealing people’s’ time, efforts or money.  There is a right kind of selfishness and it involves the Nine Noble Virtues and in particular Discipline, Perseverance and Fidelity.

These are Self Virtues in my mind because there is only one person who can engage them fully – self (aka me).  I am the only one who can be disciplined.  I am the only one who can get back up after every failure.  I am the one who must be faithful.  All these virtues depend on my decisions but the ones that have the most effect by realizing this is these three.

Discipline:

“Discipline is the willingness to be hard on oneself first and then if needed help with the development with others, so that greater purposes may be achieved.”

Discipline dots my life personally a lot.  I have my morning routine – get up, stretch, breakfast, pills and supplements, shower, shave, get dressed. I have my daily stuff – write a post, study, read, relax.  I have my marriage stuff – talk and cuddle for at least a half hour a day. Some discipline in my life isn’t every day – I go to work when I am scheduled, I go to class, I hit the gym to lift four days a week,  My diet is a discipline that hits me several times a day.  The point is discipline for me is pretty high and all of it is where I push myself a little further than the time before.  Without this continual being hard on myself and making myself do the right things, I become less.  With it I become more.

If I have a goal here it is to find all aspects of life where I can be disciplined, I do it.  If I ever get into a position of leadership again, discipline for whoever I am leading will be a center piece of my leadership.

Perseverance:

“Perseverance is the ability to stand up and return from defeat and failure”

I do this pretty naturally but there are times I want to quit. Everyone has their limits but; in the end, you have to stand back up and keep moving forward.  It’s not how hard you can hit life, it how hard of a hit you can take from life, get back up and keep moving forward.  I am paraphrasing Rocky Balboa, but he is right.

Goal – Keep getting up after every failure or defeat.  It is that easy to say.

Fidelity: 

“Fidelity is the will to be loyal to one’s Gods and Goddesses, to one’s Folk, to one’s self, and loyalty to one’s friends was as valued as highly as loyalty to one’s family.”

Fidelity is a struggle for me.  But not where most people think.  My marriage – yes.  I am working on that.  Family – no, not so much as I am loyal to all my kids, grand kids and my mother.  Faith – that’s a deeper question of who I should be loyal to.  The virtue says I should stay loyal to them, which I agree, I just want to make sure I am loyal to something that is actually there.  Friends – Yep, the one’s I still have left absolutely.  My country – yeah, the country of The Constitution of the United States – yep.  The bastard nation that people in power have created these days – nope.

No, those are not the real struggle: the real problem is staying loyal to myself and what I need and want for myself.  It’s hard with all these other things pulling at you, but it if you don’t handle the stuff you want and need, and guide that by reason and wisdom you are going to burn yourself out to the point you won’t be able to be loyal to others.  I can speak from experience on this one.

You really choose what you are loyal to in the end,  But once you choose, you stick with it unless the other side shows itself disloyal.

Goal – Place my fidelity in things I trust because they have shown to be loyal to me. Yep, I believe fidelity is a response as well as an action.

Summary: 

I plan on part of my life being the good kind of selfish. I plan on disciplining myself to be a better person.  I will keep getting up and I will be loyal to that I have chosen to be loyal to as long as it shows loyalty to me.

The last line actually is pretty true for all the virtues.  I mean there is great discussion about whether one needs to be truthful with someone who has shown themselves to be deceptive.  I don’t think so.  I also don’t think I should have to show hospitality to those who have not shown me hospitality in return. Virtues are only truly valuable if they are freely given and received at the same time. Otherwise those who choose to live outside of virtue and live rather in the realm of dishonor do not have to be honored in return.

Goal List:

  1. Be positive about my future
  2. Act with courage at the right time
  3. Pursue knowledge, wisdom and truth at all times
  4. Work to be self-reliant by finishing school and building my career
  5. Work with enjoyment of work itself both in school and my job.
  6. Be ready to be hospitable to those who truly need it.
  7. Apply discipline to every aspect of life that it can be applied.
  8. Keep getting up after every defeat or failure.
  9. Be loyal to those who have been loyal to me,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

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