WoW 096: On wise heroes, Meaningful Action, part 3 [Words of Wisdom]

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WoW 096: On Wise Heroes, Meaningful Action, part 3


This episode is part 3 in a series I'm calling Meaningful Action.

Part 1: On practicing awareness in the journey towards goodness

Part 2: On who are you becoming?

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The quality of your life is based on the quality of your decisions.

How do you decide what you want?

What will determine how you navigate the difficulties that you face?

The most significant influence on the quality of your decisions is other people.

Choose to model your life after people who have ​the virtues​ you desire of love, ​purity​, ​courage​, knowledge, and transcendence.

Intentionally identify the people who influence you.

​Think carefully​ on how people handle sex, money, and power. These threefold elements communicate the depth of someone's heart and reveal wisdom or foolishness.

Seek to minimize the influence and exposure of Foolish Friends in your life.

Foolish Friends are people who do not have the character you respect or admire.

Seek out Wise Heroes, dead and alive, to learn and grow from.

Wise Heroes have the depth of character you respect and admire.

The more you model your life after Wise Heroes, applying your unique spin on what you learn from them, the more your life will flourish.

The only way to grow in virtue is to face significant personal pain. Weather temptation. Fall. And get up again. Struggle through uncertainty, loss of identity, and overwhelming grief. Stare down haunting loneliness and suffocating shame. And despite it all, give voice to your pain, dare to dream, and move into a life of service. These are what heroes look like. Not those with status alone. Not those with merely a high net worth. Heroes have a ​wealth of virtue​, which always includes sacrificing for others.

The more you grow your desire for wisdom and rich virtue, the deeper your desire becomes.

The more you grow your desire towards foolishness and vices, the shallower your desire becomes.

The more you seek the highest virtues, the more you will fail because of that high aim, but the more you will grow.

Having wise heroes helps you identify what good looks like and clarifies when you stray from​ the narrow way​ of wisdom.


"There is no selfhood where there is no community. We do not relate to others as the persons we are; we are who we are in relating to others. Simultaneously the others with whom we are in relation are themselves in relation. We cannot relate to anyone who is not also relating to us. Our social existence has, therefore, an inescapably fluid character. This is not to say that we live in a fluid context, but that our lives are themselves fluid...As we shall see, this ceaseless change does not mean discontinuity; rather change is itself the very basis of our continuity as persons. Only that which can change can continue: this is the principle by which infinite players live."

James P. Carse, ​Finite and Infinite Games​

"The self lives in the face."

Sylvan Tompkins, ​Affect Imagery Consciousness​


Who has the kind of character you want that is currently out of your reach?

Consider someone whose face communicates a virtue you desire to grow in, such as depth, joy, or courage.

Who is a Wise Hero that is relatively close to you that you can choose as a model to influence you? How can you spend time with them?

Who is a Wise Hero that is dead or far outside your sphere to choose as a model to influence you? What books have they written, and what has been written and said about them? Commit to reading every book they have written and consuming as much of the best material about them as you can.

(Use these questions as a journal prompt and prayers this week)


You live in an interconnected web of community—people dead and alive that are influencing you. Be as intentional as you can about identifying your influences and growing your desire to be impacted by those with the highest values and virtues.

Live wisely,


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