Decision making using the cardinal virtues

Use the four cardinal virtues as building blocks for making decisions.

Prudence is the base, followed by justice, fortitude, and temperance. The order is important.

1. Prudence: Do your due diligence, run the numbers, ask questions and build scenarios. Do the work and make sure the unit economics make sense.

2. Justice: So economics work, but is your idea or action just? The test is whether your concept or activities deny someone else’s rights. If they do, then it’s not just. That test includes yourself. Are you doing yourself justice? Your plan might benefit everyone else but be punitive to you. An example is the 2018 immigration debate in the USA. A well-secured border is prudent, but separating babies from their immigrant mothers at the border is not just.

3. Fortitude: Okay so you’ve ticked the two boxes. The idea is prudent and just, but do you have the fortitude or courage to follow through on your decision. None of the first two virtues matter if you can’t follow through with the idea.

4. Temperance: Don’t get carried away by your emotions because it’ll cloud your judgment. If you allow your feelings to hijack your decision once you’ve committed, then you’ll buckle or second guess yourself at the first sign of resistance.

Virtues never go out of style or reach their shelf life. The same principles that applied centuries ago are relevant today.

Toe breathing

Toe breathing? Yup, your toes breath if you concentrate on them. Ready to try?

Okay. Take a pause. Relax your shoulders, eyes, and jaw. Feel the ground on your feet and wiggle your toes, so you know they are there. Take a deep breath through your nose and feel the air enter your body. Imagine the same fresh air coming your lungs, tummy, legs, feet and finally your toes. Feel the body expanding. It’s like blowing up a balloon. Imagine the clean oxygenated air reaching the very tips of your toes and that everything it touches on the way down is cleansed.

Now exhale slowly. As you exhale, imagine your body deflating slowing and breathing out the stale air. All of the aches, pains, anxiety leave the body with that exhalation.

Is like rinse and repeat. Try it 3 times. Concentrating on the toes will make you breath deeper and slow down the exercise. Remember to the breath through your nose and relax the shoulders and face.

Stay grounded today and enjoy.

Sometimes you only miss it when you do it

The less I do something, the less I miss it.

Paddling out for a surf on a winter’s day.  The water is dark blue and cold. I’m warm in my car sipping some coffee. I fight the urge to drive away. Only after the first duck dive and feeling the salt water hit my face do I miss the feeling of being in the water

Waking up early for a morning run. The first few minutes out in the wild are the hardest. I’m talking myself into turning around and heading home. Then something magical happens after the first mile. I started to look forward and forget about what’s behind me. My body loosens up and I start to smell the morning.

Yoga first thing in the morning. I’d rather be sleeping or getting a jump start on the day. My body resists the first stretch and the inner dialogue comes up with reasons why I should rather cut it short, shower and check my phone. Only after the first three stretches do I get into the groove and am grateful that I overcame the initial inertia.

Leaving my phone at home when I go for a hike. Initially I have phantom phone syndrome. Even though I don’t have my phone I can still feel it vibrating in my pocket. Only once I’m far away from the roads and deep in the trails do I disconnect and am reminded of how good it feels to be free from the likes, hearts, pings, retweets and favorites.

The ego is crafty and will seduce you into the path of least resistance. Feelings fade the longer you are away from something. Overcome the inertia and all resistance crumbles.

Vampires and Silver Bullets

Vampires suck on you constantly. The more distracted you are the better it is for them.

It’s the monthly subscription you pay for but never use, the unread book that sits on your bedside table, and people with their own agendas requesting time and attention. These things drain you over time and suck up your energy. The constant pull builds up resentment in you and the result is anger and frustration.

It’s hard to say no to people when you don’t have a yes to something else. Free up space to spend time on your own goals and dreams. Once you’ve simplified and clarified “your way” then it’s easier to see the vampires because the clutter is removed.

Taking time out, sitting still and breathing is like garlic and silver bullets. Do it every day.

Actions and Aspirations 

If you feel a pang of jealousy when a friend tells you exciting news about a bold move or life event, then it’s a signal that it’s time to ask some questions.

Are you in line with your actions and aspirations? If there’s misalignment then it’s exacerbated by hearing about someone’s joy, or good fortune. The jealousy pang is an alarm bell. When you’re in alignment you won’t get activated.

Listen to the alarm bells, don’t ignore them and make the correction.

Guides

When I go for a hike in new territory I take a map or consult a guide. When I’m driving to a new location I pull out my phone and turn on navigation. It makes no sense to get in the car and start driving before I have directions.

When it comes to a spiritual journey most people do the opposite. Maybe they read a book, watch a film or speak to someone who inspires them. They make a decision to investigate and explore which is awesome, but they forget to pick a guide.

If you’ve woken up and are searching for answers, the first step is realizing that having a guide will keep you on track when you lose your way. This path has already been trodden by poets and mystics – take someone’s hand and follow. If you reach out, someone will hold your hand.