If you want a life that has meaning, a life where happiness is possible, a life where you can be the best that you can be, if you want to live the best life that you can live, you must live as reality demands. And in the case of human beings, reality demands that you use your mind, that you think, that you use your rational faculty. Rationality is a virtue. So, what’s to think about?
Just as man is a being of self-made wealth, so he is a being of self-made soul. Think about: How do I build my own character? How do I shape my own life to live the best life I can live? What choices should I make? What values should I pursue? What virtues should I practice in order to achieve my values?
The pursuit of values requires you to act. You must act to produce values – food, water, shelter. Productiveness is a virtue. If your life is to have meaning where happiness is possible, you must find a job or career you like, a job or career that makes you want to go to work. For most people this is easier said than done. It can take years, even decades and a lot of different jobs, but you must give each and every job your best effort – competence is a virtue - it’s your best effort that allows you to objectively judge whether or not the job is of value to you.
If you understand that you can’t fake reality, that honesty is a virtue, you’ll want to EARN your values. You’ll know by earning your values, you can take pride in your achievements – small and large.
Living entails risk – courage is a virtue - getting out of bed entails a risk; staying in bed entails a greater risk.
Treating people justly is a virtue. Condemning or avoiding the immoral and above all acknowledging and praising the moral is treating people as they deserve to be treated.
Rationality, Productiveness, Competence, Honesty, Courage and Justice are all virtues. And if you want to live the best life you can live, if you want to experience success and happiness, you must practice being virtuous. It’s work. It’s like learning to play a musical instrument – it’s difficult at first – it takes practice, practice and more practice.
NOTE: Look for fuel – emotional fuel. Look for people in your life or in history with character traits you admire and emulate those traits. Look for art, especially stories that are interesting, that are inspiring, stories that project a way of life worth living.