Cholerics are challenged by humility, melancholics by audacity, sanguines by endurance, phlegmatics by magnanimity. Make a concrete plan of personal growth consistent with theses challenges. Here are a few examples:
This year, make a few bold decisions in your professional, social, spiritual and family life.
Carry out your decisions expeditiously.
Share your ideas, talents and passions with the whole world.
Get out of the house. Meet new people. Travel.
Transform your dreams into a mission and remember your mission every day.
Practice “heroic deeds” in the humdrum routine of everyday life.
Bring the work you are doing now to a proper conclusion, taking care to get the details right, no matter how hard the going may get.
Learn not to worry about what others may say or think about you.
Do what you must do first even if it is disagreeable, then do what you like doing.
Correct subordinates (charitably) even if you find this hard.
Stick to your scheduled time of reading/meditation/sports.
Play with the kids when you get home even if you’re dead tired.
Eat what is put in front of you even if it’s not to your liking.
Identify a few magnanimous people whom you know or have heard of, and seek their company. Contemplate them, study them, and try to imitate them.
Create around yourself a “magnanimous environment”. Your environment is the books and the papers you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to. It is the internet, which can range from extraordinarily good to downright vile. Be selective: filter out that which is base, and fill your heart and mind with that which is noble.
Make a daily plan of “spiritual and cultural growth” with a set time for contemplation and meditation, reading, sports, etc.
Learn to contemplate beauty, admire it and respond to it appropriately.
“Waste time” with your imagination, nourish it, give it free rein, and push it to its limits.
Seek greatness in the immediate, tangible reality of your material surroundings: in the fulfillment of your professional, social and family responsibilities. Use your talents to draw out the best in people. If you are a housewife, prepare food with professional attention to detail. Your talent, which reflects greatness, will inspire your husband, children and friends to similarly give the best of themselves. It is a paradox, but many housewives have elevated the people they serve spiritually by tending to their stomachs. In investing their work with talent, love and passion, housewives transform food into a metaphor for greatness. Many stories of great cookery are more inspiring as examples of leadership than many anecdotes about the battlefield and the board room.
Do not compare yourself to anyone. In their dignity, human beings are radically equal, but in their talents, they are radically unequal. Many could do miracles, but what they do are mere trivialities, because the mob is their unique point of reference.
Do not let opportunities pass you by. Letting opportunities pass, not seizing them out of fear or laziness – this is what makes a magnanimous soul suffer more than anything else. Evil is not something done by others; it is the good that you, personally, did not do.
Do not hire yes-men. Seek collaborators who can and will challenge you.
Remember: as important as it is to struggle against your defects, you should be more concerned to develop and augment your strengths.
Discover your mission, write it down, and implement it.
Do not forget: successful accomplishment of your mission must be your foremost decision-making criterion.
Concentrate your energies on your mission. Do not become distracted by peripheral matters.
Inspire a sense of mission in those around you.
If you work in a business corporation or in a nonprofit organization, ask yourself: “To what extent, by fulfilling the mission of my organization, do I fulfill my personal mission?” If you cannot answer this question, you should live the organization.
Remember: humility is not a virtue of the weak but of the strong. Leaders do not need to treat people poorly in order to feel important.
Remember: in order to bring out the greatness in people, we need to love them. Love is the only way to grasp a human being in the innermost core of his personality, to discover his talents and encourage him to actualize his potential.
Pull rather than push, teach rather than command, inspire rather than berate. Help your friends, children and colleagues acknowledge their dignity, revel in their personal freedom, embrace responsibility, discover and increase their talent, and put it at the service of the community.
Delegate power. Leaders delegate power not because they have no time to do everything themselves, but because they want their subordinates to grow (which is what happens when they are given a say in decision-making).
Encourage team members to voice their opinions even if they are critical.
Pave the way for your succession. Do not make yourself irreplaceable. Share information. Create the conditions for others to bring your work to a successful conclusion.