To wrap up our series on temperament and the virtues in the heroic journey, we’re setting off on part two of our conversation with Dr. Ryan Hanning, co-author of the upcoming book, The WillPower Advantage. (Make sure to check out part one if you missed it!)

Understanding our temperament is one of the first steps of embarking on a successful journey of life. It’s only when we understand how God designed each of us, like an author crafts a character, whether we are naturally choleric, sanguine, melancholic, or phlegmatic, that we can strategically work on becoming better versions of ourselves. In the same way that God gave us the garden of creation to tend and cultivate, so too are we called to nurture and refine our natures.

“Virtues are built upon our nature. God can infuse them in us … but his preference would be to give us the raw talent and then have us use our wills to participate with that aptitude.”

Small Moments Add Up to Big Virtue

We get a front-row seat to how virtue is developed in the heroic journey. Across film and literature, we see countless examples of how ordinary heroes become extraordinary when they come to terms with their strengths and weaknesses and embark on an intentional journey to make the most of them.

“The virtues are curious because you only get them through practice. You’re rooting that [the hero] gets into situations that will properly prepare them for the epic battles that lay ahead. And those are the most uncomfortable situations that we naturally just want to run away from.”

The montage clips of heroes going through difficult training or traveling the world glosses over the experiences that create the virtue muscle we need in the bigger, climactic choices in life. And the most compelling stories are not necessarily the biggest feats of strength, but the strongest transformations.

Change Yourself, Change the World

The difficult, internal work that we must do to understand and improve ourselves can feel boring compared to the exciting adventures that we want to chase in our external lives. But if those outer efforts can produce anything of value, for ourselves and others, we must come from a place of pure intention, strong vision, and a balanced state of mind. While they may not be center stage or even noticeable to the rest of the world, the impact that come from the good heart of a balanced temperament will be worth the work behind the scenes.

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