When I think of the word “virtue”, I think of a perfect saint, someone who is quiet, disciplined, kind, and totally self-controlled, even amidst challenging situations or relationships. I’m not virtuous, if that’s the definition. But I’d like to be. How do I get there?
When I started doing marathons, I remember going to my very first marathon clinic. I was in the walking group. We received our training schedule from our coach each week, and the first week went something like this:
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – walk 30 minutes.
Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday – rest.
Saturday, walk 45 minutes.
Really???? Walk 30 minutes???? THAT was going to get me ready for a 26.2 marathon??? No way.
But my coach said, just follow what it says and in 6 weeks, we’re going to do a half marathon through Kolekole Pass, a trail which is normally closed to civilians, and was 5 miles straight uphill and 7 miles downhill. WHAT????? I’m a couch potato, you want me to walk only 30 minutes 3 times a week, and we’re going to do 13.1 miles in six weeks???? Insane.
So we followed the schedule for that six weeks, registered for the half marathon, and skeptically showed up every weekend to do our long training walks. (Long being 45 minutes for the first few weeks.) We trusted our coach and diligently stuck to the schedule, not knowing how we would be ready in such a short period of time.
Week one turned into week two, and we progressively walked longer, more frequently, and farther week by week. I think the longest we walked was about 8 miles before we got the Half Marathon day. I know it wasn’t any more than 10 at most. I thought for sure it would take us at least 4 hours to do that race.
But our coach knew what he was doing, because I finished that race in only 3 hours and 15 minutes! Walking uphill!!! When I got to the end, I felt so fresh I could have turned around and done another 13.1 miles!
How did we do it? One day at a time. I don’t know the science behind it, but all I know is that my muscles adapted to the consistent walking, even though I thought it wasn’t long enough to make a difference.
So back to virtues.
Benjamin Franklin, one of the most brilliant men in history, determined to develop his moral strength by improving on 13 virtues. His plan? To focus on just one virtue a week, and to be so focused for seven full days that each virtue became a part of him.
In the Master Key Mastermind Alliance course, we have been promised that if we, too, focus on improving or at least being aware of one virtue a week, we will reap more benefits than we ever dreamed possible. I think it’s appropriate that there are 13 virtues, because this is my half marathon training. Except that the race I’m in is my life.