Develop an intentional plan to grow in virtue
Ok, you’re there. You are exiting the world of theory and preparation and you are about to start an intensive stage of practice through which you are intentionally educating your character. What is coming next is both the simplest and the hardest part. Are you ready?
There is no one single tool to educate your character for virtue. Rather, there are multiple elements that can work together to have a powerful shaping influence on you.
Three tools have been selected to help you intentionally work on your character during the coming weeks. These are habituation, character friendship and virtue literacy. You will learn more about each in greater detail in the weeks to come, but here is an initial description.
Habituation is the intentional repetition of virtuous actions to create habits of character. It may seem paradoxical in some ways, but habituation presupposes that doing is a prelude to becoming. You can shape what you are through the habits of what you do.
Character friendship is the intentional pursuit of relationship of accountability as we work on becoming more virtuous. Character is not shaped in a vacuum but in community, and in particular through friendships marked by the shared commitment to virtue.
Virtue literacy is the intentional engagement with concepts and stories of virtue that will shape your character by modelling your mind and generating desires of emulation.
As you can see, the word intention is a recurring feature of these three tools. None of them, in fact, are automatic. Each will only be effective as you continually and deliberately choose to use them. So your will to change is the key.
This site is set up to support your will, and the coming weeks will hopefully contribute to a pattern that you will hold onto for life.
Habituation. Character friendship. Virtue literacy. How will these tools be used?
Rather than beginning to use all three tools at once, in the coming weeks you will incrementally be introduced to their practice. You will start with habituation, then you will add character friendship, and then you will add on virtue literacy. As you add a new tool, you will continue practicing the previous tools, generating an incremental effect (first one tool, then two and finally all three together).
The weekly plan that is suggested in this site follows this strategy:
This is what the plan looks like in diagram form:
Do not worry at this stage if you don’t understand the strategy completely. You will be led through it step by step as the weeks progress.
Next week you will begin with habituation.