Aristotle argues that we are not simply born with all the virtues (positive character traits), we need to cultivate them through the training of our soul. In contemporary language, we need to be aware of the different characteristics we want to embody, and then actively pursue them in our everyday. On a lighter note, this brings a lot of excitement into otherwise menial social interactions (if you’re willing and enjoy the challenge that is).
We’re all meant to be leaders, although some of you might get their hackles raised because of that statement. However, we are all meant to lead; if not others, then ourselves. This is called personal leadership. When you cultivate your virtues through personal leadership, you grow in joy, drive and passion for life - it’s a simple, coherent and self-perpetuating concept. While we take responsibility for what’s happening on the inside, we develop in our overall discipline and equip ourselves to take life on better.
Albert Schweitzer brilliantly said: ‘Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will - his personal responsibility.’
Personal responsibility is at the very core of personal leadership. Taking responsibility means that you yourself are accountable for the results you see in life and thus, a new avenue of possibilities opens up in front of you.
To exercise one’s will means to decide on a direction and to pursue it. Because you’re accountable for your results, you have no choice but to utilize all your resources and creativity to achieve your goals.
Now if you’re thinking that you’re not that creative, don’t, because you are. When your life’s focus grows beyond you, you’ll find gifts and talents within you never thought existed. I call them next-level people - the people who live in this way. We know who they are in our lives: the ones who don’t live according to others’ opinions but pursue dreams that are bigger than themselves. They believe in their dreams with everything they have. They inspire us, and we want what they’re having.
As the sphere of your life grows, you understand that you no longer have time to waste energy on small quarrels, negative thoughts and offenses. You can no longer stand the thought of carrying the burden of that excess negativity: it’s like renting your head out for weighty entities, but for free! Although the challenge of living on another level is exciting, it’s hard work: you step into taking responsibility for your life, including your attitudes and direction. This means that whatever comes your way, you choose to respond carefully instead of reacting out of impulse.
Cultivate personal leadership. It can be challenging to cultivate - heavy even -, but the one who toils away, ultimately reaps away.