#468 Are You Pusillanimous?

Much Better to be Magnanimous


A couple +1s ago<\/a> I promised to chat about Aristotle\u2019s thoughts on magnanimity<\/em>.<\/p>\n

It\u2019s one of the \u201cOther Moral Virtues\u201d he talks about after he covers the Big 2: Courage and Self-Control.<\/p>\n

Magnanimity<\/em> might just be my favorite word. Do you know what it literally means?<\/p>\n

Magna<\/em> = \u201cgreat\u201d + animus<\/em> = \u201csoul.\u201d<\/p>\n

A great soul?<\/p>\n

Yep. Sign me up. How do I become THAT?<\/p>\n

Well, Aristotle\u2019s take on it is fantastic. Here\u2019s what he says: \u201cGreatness of soul, as the very name suggests, is concerned with things that are great, and we must first grasp of what sort these are.\u201d<\/em><\/p>\n

He continues by saying: \u201cWell, a person is considered to be magnanimous if he thinks that he is worthy of great things, provided he is worthy of them; because anyone who esteems his own worth unduly is foolish, and nobody who acts virtuously is foolish or stupid.\u201d<\/em><\/p>\n

Well isn\u2019t that fascinating.<\/p>\n

The first step to being a great soul is to THINK THAT YOU ARE WORTHY OF GREAT THINGS.<\/p>\n

Now, of course, there\u2019s a vice of excess here. In Aristotle\u2019s words: \u201cThe man who thinks that he is worthy of great things although he is not worthy of them is conceited.\u201d<\/em><\/p>\n

Got it. Definitely don\u2019t want to be conceited. Let\u2019s stay grounded and humble and committed to serving something bigger than ourselves.<\/p>\n

And\u2026 Let\u2019s be clear that there\u2019s ALSO a vice of DEFICIENCY here. Back to Aristotle: \u201cOn the other hand the man who has too low an opinion is pusillanimous: and it makes no difference whether his worth is great or moderate or <\/em>little, if his opinion of it is too low. Indeed the man whose worth is great might be regarded as especially pusillanimous.\u201d<\/em><\/p>\n

(For the record: Out of the entire

Unlock this Optimize +1 (and over 1,000 more) for free!

The Optimize membership used to be $100/year. It’s now free. No credit card required. No strings attached. Just more wisdom in less time.

Sign Up for Free