Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” At this unknown crossroads, while we are coping with chaos and loss, we also find ourselves experiencing new levels of connectivity with family, friends and even workplaces, for those able to work remotely. The earth is breathing freely and skies are clear over L.A., Beijing, Mumbai and other cities around the world for the first time in decades. Innovative, creative thinking is cropping up, from new products to the way we collaborate to find essential solutions. Everything is changing very quickly.
How do we navigate through this time when the future is so uncertain and many feel their lives are being put on hold? How do we evaluate our options, both personally and for our fragile planet which many believe is “now on hospice”, with climate change an existential threat to our health, economy, and lifestyle. Some scientists see this global pause as a potential turning point to shift our priorities and commit to reviving the natural world.
We have an unprecedented opportunity to write a new narrative -- a global reset in the realms of environmental sustainability, economic equity, new models of education, health care, and work. It’s time to harness the collective will of humanity to make the most of this defining moment and avoid defaulting to a status quo that has had its day. Ironically, this novel virus has catapulted us all into position to initiate fundamental change. We need a new vision to move forward from any crisis or challenge, particularly one as massive and universal as Covid 19. What strategies will help us to hold onto hope and optimism? Virtues provide guiding principles that will help us to respond ably to the call for innovative solutions
Linda Kavelin-Popov, author and co-founder of The Virtues Project, and Dave Feldman, a lifelong entrepreneur, environmentalist and co-founder of Virtues Matter, decided to write a blog series focused on a positive way forward. We selected seven virtues to help us all cope with our current uncertainties, and at the same time, capitalize on the massive potentiality for renewed hope and unified action in our hour of crisis.
Seven Virtues for Sustainable Transformation
Virtues are described by all the world’s faiths and philosophies as universal positive qualities of character, “the fruits of the spirit,” the essence of morality and ethics. Virtues such as love, justice, kindness, excellence and courage are at the core of what it is to be human. They are the common thread of meaning valued by all people, though practiced differently across varying cultures. They are powerful life-skills that enable us to transform any situation. Virtues matter now more than ever.
One might wonder if virtues are too radically idealistic to actually succeed in a global climate so dominated by greed and exploitation up to now. As writer Max Ehrmann wrote in the popular poem of the 1920’s, Desiderata, “Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.” We could well reach critical mass among those who choose a path of optimism. Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Virtues offer a frame of reference for a commitment to wholeness and new balance, allowing us to take full advantage of the opportunity we have at this turning point. Virtues are the prow of the ship we need to sail. While there are hundreds of virtues to be found in the world’s wisdom sources, we chose these seven as a portal to a new beginning. Please follow us as we post weekly blogs on these virtues:
Call to Action: Learn more about virtues and how to apply them to your life. Download the free Virtues Cards app. Virtues can enrich daily life to guide decision making, heal a relationship, teach your children, or simply provide a positive focus for the day. By using and sharing them, you can help virtues go viral!
Authors: Linda Kavelin-Popov and David Feldman
Linda Kavelin-Popov is a psychotherapist and hospice spiritual care doula. She is co-founder of The Virtues Project, endorsed by The Dalai Lama and the United Nations. She has authored seven books, translated into several languages and is author of the Virtues Cards. She was named a “Cultural Creative” by Time Magazine.
Dave Feldman is a community builder, thought leader and international speaker. He co-founded several social entrepreneurial ventures including: Virtues Matter, developer of the Virtues Cards app; Livability Project, a sustainability consultancy; Media4Green an environmental video producer and Bethesda Green, a local sustainability hub.