In the desire to be morally upright, people are bound to acquire virtues that qualify as good traits. Indeed, virtue is the moral excellence of a human being and may vary in composition from person to the other. That notwithstanding, each person has different or similar virtues that make them morally excellent including honesty, respect, kindness and courage. Every culture, therefore, has different sets of virtues that it considers necessary for the moral excellence of its members. It is the evidence of these virtues that define the general character of a person in relation to their treatment of other human beings and how they relate in different environments. While there is no single universal set of virtues that qualify one as morally upright, the intermix of these virtues may portray the moral uprightness of different individuals (Cropanzano et al., 2011). Throughout my life, I have encountered scenarios that require different virtues, and these virtues have eventually defined my character in the end. For instance, both personal and professional aspects of my life have been shaped by different virtues. Ultimately, virtues shape my identity as a person and the level of success attained in my life.
Normally, people rely on the virtues expressed by different people in defining their character and identity. For instance, the virtues of courage, generosity and honesty are positively used in defining the character of people who have good morals. However, jealousy and dishonesty could also be used in defining the identity of people that are not morally upright. In the end, the virtuousness of a person is influential in shaping their identity and character in the long-run. Throughout my life, I have realized the value of this fact and purposed to exhibit positive virtues in shaping my identity. In particular, my success in school has been influenced to a great deal by the virtues that I possess including hard work and determination. Most of my friends in school have defined my character in light of the virtues that I possess and display in life. In light of these developments, I have attained a unique identity based on the virtues exhibited in different aspects of my life.
It is no doubt that virtues have a direct influence on one’s identity regardless of the interactions in life (Cropanzano et al., 2011). For instance, the virtue of hard work has shaped my identity into a responsible individual both in school and in my personal life. Consequently, students have elected me to different leadership positions based on my virtues thus shaping my character even further. In addition, the virtues of generosity and honesty have also influenced my character by shaping my interactions with different people. For instance, generosity and kindness have influenced me into being a fair minded and reasonable individual who respects the views of others. Everywhere I go, I have the potential of commanding respect by the nobility of having leadership skills which have been shaped through my virtuousness. The benefit of this interaction is evidenced in the manner with which I approach different issues and the solutions proposed. Evidently, therefore, virtues have positively shaped my identity and character into a better person.
Studies have observed that national culture has an influence on the virtues exhibited by the citizens (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Indeed, different cultures have different views and ideas on virtues including their dispositions. Across the world, different cultures consider some virtues more important than others perhaps based on their application in their nature of lives. That notwithstanding, all cultures do agree on the importance of culture in shaping the virtues and the importance of having virtuous citizens in the world. In my culture, the role of virtues in shaping one’s success and identity is highly recognized in society. In fact, children are taught how to acquire important virtues early in the lives and encouraged to follow in the steps of morally upright individuals in society. Examples of good virtues are pointed out through comparisons with morally upright individuals in the society. On the other hand, people that lack morals are used as examples of characters that should not be acquired by children. For instance, the virtues of generosity, kindness and courage are highly emphasized in my culture while those of jealousy and selfishness are discouraged. In other cultures, the value of virtues is equally emphasized albeit with a focus on different virtues. Universally, therefore, good virtues are highly encouraged among different cultures while bad ones are discouraged.
Perhaps the greatest importance of virtues is the benefit accrued by other human beings and its role in imparting happiness among different individuals. Therefore, the insistence on good virtues is based on a desire to accrue maximum benefits to human beings (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Virtues are highly connected to the theory of utilitarianism as it is based on the maximization of utility through actions. Indeed, the best action is defined as one that guarantees the well-being of human beings including others and self. My cultural idea of virtues is based on the fact that they should result in the best results for a majority of the parties involved. Consequently, good virtues are defined by their potential of imparting positive effects on the parties involved including others and self. These ideas are geared towards the acquisition of both individual and group happiness by ensuring that each of the parties involved benefits. For instance, the virtue of fairness is highly beneficial in ensuring the happiness of the involved parties through equal judgment. These virtues are important in leadership as their overall aim is the happiness of the aggrieved parties and the restoration of justice. Also, the virtues of generosity are equally befitting as they provide happiness to both self and others. Ultimately, my cultural ideas of virtues fit into the wider theory of utilitarianism by maximizing happiness.
It is true that virtues have a direct influence on the success of individuals at both personal and professional levels. Virtues have the potential of shaping one’s character and identity in the long run. Positive virtues are considered good and positively impact on the life of human beings while negative virtues are detrimental to one’s character. The choice of virtues is highly influenced by the cultural ideas and is different within different cultures. There is a general consensus that virtues positively impact on the character and identity of human beings. The value of virtues is guided by their potential to impart happiness on the involved parties. In the end, virtues are based on the theory of utilitarianism that is based on the maximization of benefits to the involved parties.
Cropanzano, R., Byrne, Z. S., Bobocel, D. R., & Rupp, D. E. (2011). Moral virtues, fairness heuristics, social entities, and other denizens of organizational justice. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 58(2), 164-209.
Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. Oxford University Press.
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