Words like “cordial” and “congenial” describe individuals who are “amiable.” They see the value of social relationships, and they enjoy time spent interacting with friends. They also see the value of relating to strangers in a welcoming way.
A bit of sweetness added to our character would be welcomed by those around us. When you consider the opposites of sweetness — sourness, bitterness, unpleasantness, grouchiness — isn’t it clear that sweetness is an attribute we should aspire to?
To “endeavor” is to make an earnest effort to reach a goal or fulfill a purpose. It is to strive conscientiously toward an end. But does anything we do make any difference? Are there any purposes worth working for? I, for one, believe that there are.
At some point, our generosity needs to become sacrificial. So sale-shoppers and coupon-clippers, be advised: generosity never goes on sale. Generosity is measured in terms of sacrifice, and truly generous gifts are never affordable.
The “height of our ambition” needs to be high indeed. “Good enough” is simply not good enough, and if we ever quit trying to do the best things to the best of our ability, then we will have sold our souls to the devil of mediocrity. So let’s aspire!
Unnatural behavior is hardly ever successful. It doesn’t fool anybody. So why don’t we lay aside our artificiality and pride? Yes, we need to improve ourselves, but if we’re doing our best, there is no need to hide the natural person that we are.
As Epictetus said, “First say to yourself what you would be, and then do what you have to do.” The various activities in which we engage from day to day ought to be means that we have decided upon to accomplish our intended aim.
There are many goals that are unachievable but still worth trying to achieve because the effort itself is beneficial. Perfection is one of them. We exert a much greater effort and see much better results when we aim high rather than low.
We are capable of deciding between right and wrong, but unfortunately we don’t often consider rightness as a criterion in our decisions. Frequently, we make crucial choices using no higher criteria than pleasure, social benefit, or economic benefit.
We need the humility and courage to acknowledge whatever is true. We are free to work toward a better reality and move any situation closer to what it ought to be, but we mustn’t lose touch with the reality of our circumstances as they presently are.