Be Great

For every worthwhile endeavor there usually can be found a manual, a guide on how to get there, written or gathered from sources more knowledgeable than you.

This is a guide to the values of being a true gentleman, a Great Man. The basis of the code lies in Chivalry updated with global and timeless teachings from men across all races, nations, cultures, religions and times.

There are various sources for the Code of Chivalry with anywhere from 3 main categories of codes of conduct to a list of thirty one rules. There are also many writings on being a gentleman. One such was written in 1899 by John Walter Wayland whose "The True Gentleman" had actually first appeared in The Baltimore Sun as part of a competition for the best definition of a true gentleman with Wayland's submission being crowned the winner, later it was adopted as the creed of Sigma Alpha Epsilon sometime in the 1930s, however, it wasn't until the 2001 Fraternity Convention in Orlando, Florida that it was officially adopted as the organization's creed. Wayland's definition went like this:

"The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe."

That is a great piece of work, but it is very long. A code should be short and easy to remember, to serve as a guide on how o act. To this end the basis of the Great Man's Code is in a modern source - the Organic Commandment of Frank Lloyd Wright. He wrote of four Virtues being Love, Sincerity, Courage, and Decision.

Love is the Virtue of the Heart,
Sincerity the Virtue of the Mind,
Courage the virtue of the Spirit,
Decision the Virtue of the Will

I have taken those values and updated them (Love is Compassion and Courage is Enterprise), then applied them to conducts as ways to strive for wellness in all areas of life.

A Great Man man strives to be Compassionate, Decisive, Enterprising, and Sincere.

The virtue of Compassion means have good intentions, to feel empathy and sympathy for the feelings of others. Be cognizant of their needs and try to help those in need.

The virtue of Decision means to make judgments, be accountable, and be determined and persuasive. Know what you want to and should do, then do it.

The virtue of Enterprise means to undertake projects, be bold and ready, be adventurous, but be organized. Make plans and follow them.

The virtue of Sincerity means to be free from deceit, be earnest, and truthful. Simply, be honest - to others but most of all to yourself. It could also be called Integrity.

The art of being great and doing great things means taking decisions to the next level. Sure its not that hard to look good, but to truly look Great means not just considering the style of your clothes, but also the social and environmental impact of the clothes. The same goes for food, gadgets, grooming products, even the media we consume.

Here is a quote that speaks to all four values in different terms.
I think the purpose of life is to be useful, responsible, honorable, compassionate. It is, above all, to matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all - Leo Rosten (1908-1997) Writer, Teacher
He speaks to four values which match up very well with the code: useful is Enterprise, responsible is Decision, honorable is Sincerity, and compassionate is of course Compassion.

There have been many great men before us and many that live with us that can serve as inspiration. Here are writings from past and present that represent the four virtues. Some of the values crossover and are listed under more than one virtue. This is a living document that will be updated often with new examples of the virtues as they are discovered so check back frequently. And if you have suggestions please enter in the discussion.

On Being Compassionate

  • When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion. - Abraham Lincoln
  • Let the noble man Be generous and good, Tirelessly achieving What is just and useful: Let him be a model For those beings whom he surmises. - Goethe
  • We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. - Sir Winston Churchill
  • Don't wait for extraordinary circumstance to do good; try to use ordinary situations. - Charles Richter (1900-1985); American seismologist and physicist; creator of the Richter Magnitude Scale
  • Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. - William James (1842-1910);psychologist, philosopher, author
  • My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here. - Jim Henson
  • Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be. - Goethe
  • For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you. - Neil DeGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist
  • No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. - Charles Dickens
  • Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men. - Confucius
  • A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money. - John Ruskin
  • Every great person is always being helped by everybody; for their gift is to get good out of all things and all persons. - John Ruskin
  • Men are only as great as they are kind. ~ Elbert Hubbard
  • If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them. Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone. - From Chivalry by Leon Gautier
  • Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one. - Goethe
  • To protect the weak and defenceless - The Song of Roland
  • To give succour (help or assistance) to widows and orphans - The Song of Roland
  • To fight for the welfare of all - The Song of Roland
  • To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit - The Song of Roland
  • Rejoicing in our joy, not suffering over our suffering, is what makes someone a friend. - Friedrich Nietzsche

On Being Decisive

  • So act that your principle of action might safely be made law for the whole world. - Immanuel Kant (1724-1804); German philosopher
  • The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook. - William James (1842-1910); psychologist, philosopher, author
  • Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men. - Confucius
  • "Cease being intimidated by the argument that a right action is impossible because it does not yield maximum profits, or that a wrong action is to be condoned because it pays." — Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac)
  • Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent. - Dalai Lama
  • If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • I shall not cause harm to any vehicle nor the personal contents thereof, nor through inaction let that vehicle or the personal contents thereof come to harm. That's what I call the repo code, kid. Don't forget it, etch it in your brain. Not many people got a code to live by anymore. - Bud, Repo Man

On Being Enterprising

  • All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. - Edmund Burke (paraphrase/disputed)
  • Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. - Louis "Lou" Holtz (born 1937); American football coach
  • How can you come to know yourself? Never by thinking, always by doing. Try to do your duty, and you'll know right away what you amount to. - Goethe
  • So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable. - Christopher Reeve
  • I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen. - Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.  - Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784);poet, essayist, lexicographer
  • The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. - Neil DeGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist
  • If something comes to life in others because of you, then you have made an approach to immortality. - Norman Cousins (1915-1990); editor, writer
  • We are here to add what we can to, not get what we can from, life. - Sir William Osler (1849-1919); Canadian physician, founding professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.  - Sir Francis Bacon
  • Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. - William Faulkner
  • Doing is the great thing, for if people resolutely do what is right, they come in time to like doing it. - John Ruskin
  • If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862); naturalist, author, philosopher
  • "We shall never achieve harmony with the land, anymore than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve but to strive." — Aldo Leopold (Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold)
  • Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men. - Confucius
  • Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. - John F. Kennedy
  • In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” - David Brinkley
  • All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. - Galileo Gelilei
  • Men seldom, or rather never for a length of time and deliberately, rebel against anything that does not deserve rebelling against. ~ Thomas Carlyle
  • An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything, and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men. - Dr. Thomas Fuller (1608-1661); clergyman, writer
  • Time comes when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to become & start being the man you want to be. - Bruce Springsteen

On Being Sincere

  • Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people. - Spencer Johnson
  • A man's manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait. - Goethe
  • The most common lie is that which one tells himself; lying to others is relatively an exception. - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people's lives. - Clint Eastwood
  • Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. - Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273); Persian poet, mystic
  • Do not think of your faults, still less of other's faults; look for what is good and strong, and try to imitate it. Your faults will drop off, like dead leaves, when their time comes. John Ruskin
  • I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility. - John Ruskin
  • "Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal." — Aldo Leopold
  • Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts? - Confucius
  • Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men. - Confucius
  • The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men. ~ Julius Charles Hare
  • “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” - Epictetus
  • “When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself.” - Louis Nizer
  • “A man of honour should never forget what he is because he sees what others are.” - Baltasar Gracian
  • “Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though t'were his own.” - Goethe
  • Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world. - Etty Hillesum (1914-1943), Dutch Writer, Holocaust Survivor
  • Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word. - From Chivalry by Leon Gautier
  • Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone. - From Chivalry by Leon Gautier
  • To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit - The Song of Roland
  • We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the way in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us. - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Spirit is like the wind, in that we can’t see it but can see its effects, which are profound. - Jimmy Carter


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