You work hard during the day, and what do you want to do when you get home?
You work hard during the week, and what is it that you want to do on the weekend?
The most common answer would be to relax. It would be to take it easy, maybe watch some television. Sometimes, that is all I can think about. I just want to get home, put on some comfortable clothes, crack open a beer, and chill out. The ordinary person would say this is all right. They would say it is deserved, that we all need a break. And maybe, to some extent, they are right. A break is needed.
The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort. -Confucius
I think of the superior man. That is what I want to be, but how will I get there? There are some out there that seem to never stop. They find the time to stay in top shape. Professionally, they work hard. They volunteer. They…well this list could keep going on.
What do they not do? They probably don’t think how they can coast. They don’t think about how they can just relax because they deserve it. Whether they realize it or not, they think of virtue, rather than comfort.
The four cardinal virtues:
Prudence. This is wisdom. The superior person is always chasing wisdom. They are seeking knowledge and applying understanding to the things they have learned. They are not passively passing the time watching TV.
Temperance. You can call it discipline. It is the sharpening of the mind and the body. It is not giving in to the easy or comfortable way. Like the tempering of steel, they are doing the hard things consistently so that they too can become hardened.
Justice. They do the right thing. They listen to their conscience and act accordingly. They live their lives in private the same way they live it in public.
Courage. Courage comes easily when you have wisdom, discipline, and justice. When you are shaky in these other virtues, the courage wanes and becomes fool hardy. But through the strengthening of the other virtues, what some would call the greatest of virtues, courage, is possible.
Courage is the greatest of all the virtues. Because if you haven’t courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others. –Samuel Johnson
We need courage to practice the others. We need the others to practice courage. They work together and none of it can be achieved in comfort. Take a break if you need to by switching gears between work and study. Develop your ability to last longer, go harder, and delve deeper. Practice the virtues and become superior. It is a fierce competition out there to become better than we were yesterday.