Applying Ancient Virtues to Modern Times
Over 1,000 years ago, the Norse Viking warriors devised a set of nine virtues that would become their standard of noble warriorship. Though ancient, their values still hold true today. Here are nine components that the Vikings believed comprised a valiant warrior.
1. Courage. When faced with a daunting task, warriors believe they can handle anything that crosses their path. This power allows warriors to overcome any intimidation because they know their beliefs are worth fighting for. Being a courageous warrior is not about fearlessness, it is about overcoming fear.
2. Truth. Speaking only words of honesty is the next fundamental trait. Even when white lies seem harmless, deception still compromises trust between people. Truth can be subjective, but a warrior who believes in his or her actions will have no reason to fabricate lies.
3. Honor. When one stays true to personal ethics, self-respect and a strong sense of honor will follow. Honor is a commitment to maintain the integrity of one’s conscience, not necessarily about how others see you; however if you show that you respect yourself, others will respect you too.
4. Fidelity. Many associate fidelity with faithfulness to a partner, but it is much more than that. In relationships of all kinds, valuable and deep connections are built upon loyalty and respect for the wellbeing of others. Fidelity is much like the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.
5. Discipline. Creating a noble identity requires the maintenance of a meaningful lifestyle. Discipline is the repeated decision to live true to your values even when alternative choices seem easier or more appealing. Through practicing discipline, a warrior sharpens his or her sense of control.
6. Hospitality. Regardless of identity or reputation, a warrior always treats others with reverence and dignity. Even if you don’t believe someone is deserving of your hospitality, a true warrior is courteous in every interaction and never regrets taking the high road.
7. Industriousness. The desire to work hard is a cornerstone of a warrior’s identity. Even outside the confines of a career or occupation, warriors strive to achieve excellence in all aspects of life. Any task worth doing is worth doing well so long as a warrior maintains high self-expectations.
8. Self-Reliance. A warrior is responsible and free of dependence on anyone or anything. Although interpersonal relationships are necessary for balance, warriors maintain the confidence that they can succeed because of their own drive.
9. Perseverance. Even when obstacles accumulate, warriors never give up on their goals. This identity strengthens over time through learning from mistakes and relentlessly seeking success. For a warrior on a determined mission, quitting is not an option.
Regardless of background or beliefs, striving to be our best self is always within reach. Modern culture often offers tempting shortcuts and instant gratification in exchange for minimal effort, but warrior status is reserved for those who do what is right even if inconvenient. By incorporating these virtues into our lives, we can pursue a life of merit.
Annie Sragner, contributing writer for ifIknew