#4.2 – Compare results
Compare your virtue test results before and after your habituation
You should have now completed the Virtue Test for the second time.
Look in particular at the scores of your chosen virtue. What you should have in front of you are two scores: one before your habituation and one afterwards.
There are two possible outcomes as you compare these scores.
Outcome 1: Your second score is higher than the first
Clearly, this is the desired outcome which will (hopefully) be the most frequent result. You can take this as a marker of successful virtue education.
What does this look like? Imagine that that your chosen virtue was compassion. The first time you took the test you scored 57, which meant that this was a virtue where there was room to grow. After your habituation plan, your test produced a score of 76, which marks an improvement.
This is great news, and you should be encouraged! Although numerical results are not perfect, this kind of outcome gives you reason to believe that your character has been educated in virtue over the last months. It means that habituation has worked, and that you are a person who is more compassionate than before.
Outcome 2: Your second score is lower than (or equal to) the first
What does this look like? Considering the same example as above, imagine that your first score of 57 compares with a second score of 52. Despite your habituation, this seems to indicate a situation where this virtue is less strong than it was before.
This could mean several things.
- You may have tested yourself with greater severity. It is possible that, as you have become more aware of virtue in the last months, you have become harsher on yourself in your answers. This will skew the comparison and make it seem like you have not grown in virtue, whereas the contrary is actually true.
- The test has simply not worked for you. Tests can go wrong in many ways, and we all bring many variables with us. Do not be discouraged by the numbers. If you perceive that you have grown in this virtue, that is what counts, regardless of numerical results.
- You have actually not grown in virtue. This is a possibility, and you need to take responsibility for it if it is true. Perhaps you were not constant in your habituation. Perhaps unpredicted life events have distracted you from being constant. Perhaps your habituation plan was superficial or poorly designed. Or perhaps your will and motivation were not determined to really become more virtuous and less viceful.
- Your growth in virtue is not showing yet. This means that you are travelling in the right direction, but you need more time. It could be that your habituation period was not long enough. But it is also possible that you have chosen to work on a very significant virtue, or on a vice that is deeply embedded in your life. This entails that true change will be gradual. In this case, results may come slowly and after more work. So don’t give up! You are on the right pathway, only it is longer and more difficult that you may have anticipated.
Hopefully, comparing the scores of your two Virtue Tests has given you food for thought. Now you need capture it in writing, which is the next (and nearly final) step.