Moral Virtues Impact on Self-Respect - The How To Guide To Building an Ethical Character and Organisations


Control Your Lusts

Spinoza, the 17th century Dutch philosopher, famous for his comprehensive works on ethics said the following: ‘We do not find joy in virtue because we control our lusts, but contrariwise, because we find joy in virtue we control our lusts’. If you are like me it will take you a few reads to grasp that what Spinoza is saying is that to live and lead ethically we must find joy in being virtuous.

People are 83% more committed to leaders who stand for something and are 86% more likely to follow leaders who take the lead on ethical change - 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer. Studying organisational and human behaviour that involves helping leaders find their best-self to live and lead authentically, has taught me that it is impossible for a one to be ethical without being virtuous in character.

What is Ethics and What Are Moral Virtues?

ETHICS can be defined as moral standards that govern an individual or organisation. So what are virtues? VIRTUE is about strength of will, reason must constrain desire.  A virtue is a trait or behaviour which is morally excellent; and promotes both communal and individual greatness. Virtues which bring joy to others are best. 

When one is virtuous they live by a strict moral compass, which must be maintained through daily self-regulation practices that include study of all the moral virtues under the right coach. The goal of such self-mastery practices is to master control over your senses and mind which are easily led away by temporary highs, which inevitably bring misery and ill health.

There are 26 moral virtues that bring abundance of health, power, wealth and most importantly self-respect. It's also important to study the 6 morally degrading virtues that we humans unfortunately are naturally attracted to and which inevitably makes people anxious, dull and depressed; and for many to act immorally and to lose self-respect. In the book Rise Warrior Rise I share a moral platform made of the 26 virtues to rise and 13 strategies to rise as your best self while protecting yourself from the 6 vices of self-destruction. These are: 1. Arrogance 2. Pride 3. Anger 4. conceit 5.Harshness  6.Ignorance

Below I will share with you a link to test your own level of morality against the 26 virtues to rise. It is amazing how many people lives have been saved purely by doing this test as it gave them a clear perspective of the moral values to live their lives by.


Living according to moral virtues leads to self-respect and self-respect leads us to making morally correct decisions. You see they are reciprocal to each other, in that you can not have one without the other. Your level of morality determines your level of self-respect. People with a lack of clarity in what they stand for will have a lower level of self-respect and are more susceptible to being corrupted and led astray towards self-destruction and bringing harm to others. 

A lot is changing in our worlds creating lots of moral grey areas which is confusing so many among us. For proof just look at the news headlines of people in trusted positions doing wrong as result of personal laziness, lust or anger. We have had executives behaving badlypriests who molest children to organisations charging fees to the dead; and chairs of companies resigning due to their organisations taking advantage of their customers. The list goes on and on.

Good people end up doing wrong and destroying not only their lives but that of their loved ones and others in the process. People often ask me 'what virtues should I live by' and 'how do I control my lusts?'  The answer is that you must study all the 26 virtues to Rise and thrive and daily you must practice the art of self-mastery so your mind is under your control and not your environment. 

How to Develop a morally Strong Character:

1. Study the 26 virtues to rise and thrive. Follow this link to test your current ethical score:

2. Study and discus the virtues you stand for with like minded people and mentors; and make them part of your personal and family standard. 

3. Incorporate daily self-regulation rituals to gain control of your senses including the mind. Practices include fasting, breath mastery, meditation, chants and prayers.

Why Do Good People Do Bad Things? Why do people behave unethically?

As the world expands through globalisation and technological advances, many people are losing touch with their roots, where they have come from, their culture and community and with it people are finding it harder to gain moral guidance and support that usually comes elders, family, spiritual leaders and community. 

Today more than ever a great part of my role is to help leaders build an ethical standard for their organisations and people. The very best part of my work involves coaching business and community leaders to immoral addictions and gain self-mastery. Finding your way to live and lead ethically takes a commitment is a conscious decision. Ignoring to develop a high moral standard in character is not a choice if you are a parent or leader as the reputation damage costs alone are too high. Make a decision to study the 26 virtues to rise and thrive and to build your character around those virtues. 

Four Steps Organisations Must Take To Develop Virtuous Leaders and Ethical Organisations:

  1. Establish an ethical charter that clarifies what good moral conduct is. Remember study shows that people want their leaders to take the lead on ethical change. 
  2. Share the charter with everyone within the organisation and teach them all the moral virtues and its link to your organisations ethical charter. Remember that it is impossible to expect your leaders to act ethically if they are not virtuous in character. 
  3. Develop Organisational measures of success to be beyond the bottom line to include service to customers, community and environment. 
  4. Empower your people with the know how and time for self-regulation and regularly monitor their moral standing by conducting pulse checks so you and they may put in place exercises to raise their levels of morality. 

People want to do the right thing, but most people don't have a clear understanding nor access to an excellent moral platform live like Virtuous to live their lives and lead other by. When people know what good truly means, as in they know what all the virtues are, then they have something to stand for. Protect yourself, gain self mastery to rise above temporary pleasures and immoral behaviours that destroy careers, families and take lives. My work at Sydney Detox and Rehab a luxury executive drug and alcohol withdrawal centre is most encouraging as here I see many good people find their true self again by beating addictions, self-doubt, anxiety, and even suicide tendencies through the art of self-regulation and finding virtues. Here are 10 of my favourite virtues that will lift any life:

  1. Fearlessness
  2. Freedom from greedy cravings
  3. Truth
  4. Non-violence in thought, speech and act
  5. Senses Control
  6. Unwavering Determination
  7. Austerity 
  8. Aversion from Fault Finding 
  9. Serenity - harmony
  10. Austerity


Spinoza said. "that all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare". Being a virtuous moral person and leader is also rare and it seems people now do not want to tolerate anything less from their leaders and we are seeing examples of this everywhere around us with business, religious and political leaders having made to pay for immoral and ignorant behaviour.  


Roh Singh is the Author of Rise Warrior Rise and Love: The Wellbeing Journal. Roh serves as coach and board advisor. Roh is CEO of Populis, a consultancy serving organisations to build ethical high performing leaders, high performing strategies and leaders with our award winning Leadership Framework™️.

Contact Roh at [email protected] or call Roh +614 04049613 to help you develop your organisations moral platform.

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