In compiling and organizing this list, I tried to develop a hierarchy of virtues, with four major virtues, Rationality, Productivity, Integrity, and Justice, and lower level virtues that best capture the totality of the top virtue. While this does not perfectly match Ayn Rand's conception, my goal was to put this in my own terms. However, her influence is readily apparent. For each, I considered habits in developing of ideas, habits with staying true to ideas, and habits applying ideas consistently. I tried to stop at thirteen virtues, so that I could use these virtues similar to Ben Franklin did (as I described in my last post on developing habits). Because of that, I'm sure this list is not comprehensive, but serves as a practical starting point.
So without further ado, here is my list along with a brief explanation of each.
Rationality - applying reason to all my thinking
- Living Consciously: Applying my focus and mental awareness to all situations.
- Independence: Verifying all ideas in my mind with first hand research and thinking. When multiple perspectives exist on a subject, I must independently evaluate each perspective to discover the truth of falsity of those perspectives using logic and the facts.
- Honesty: adherence to the facts of reality. In this sense, honesty applies to both with myself and with others. It includes having the courage to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without undo fear, particularly in being true to truth.
- Self-confidence: being true to my own consciousness.
- Purposefulness: The systematic identification of goals and objectives to achieve.
- Ambitiousness: The systematic pursuit of achievement and of constant improvement in respect to one’s goal.
- Efficaciousness: The systematic pursuit of the knowledge and skills necessary to produce desired effects
- Self-Discipline: the ability to get myself to take action regardless of my emotional state.
- Principled: the pursuit of living by principles. In my case, I refer to this as the systematic identification of principles for optimal living.
- Responsible: Strive to be accountable and respond rationally to principles consistently.
- Moral ambitiousness: Always strive to be as moral as possible. This includes discovering what my values and virtues are and pursuing them with all of my effort. Ayn Rand described this as "pride", but it makes more sense in my own mind when I refer to it as moral ambitiousness.
- Joyfulness: pursue joy in the little things so as to make the pursuit of the big things bearable.