6 Virtues That Shape a Meaningful Personal Code of Honor

A code of honor: not just for knights anymore.

What does a modern code of honor look like? Why do we even need one? For me personally, a code of honor is that extra layer of accountability in my personal and professional life. Even if there’s something else in your life—be it faith, law, or some other moral code—a personal code of honor is something you yourself design and take up for the sake of improving yourself, your life, and the lives of those around you.

In Medieval times, knights had chivalry (which no, wasn’t just about romancing the ladies!), Ancient Greek philosophers had virtues, as did early Christians. 

Many of their principles are relevant for us today, and they can be easily applied to our business endeavors.

6 Virtues for Building Your Personal Code of Honor

1) Benevolence

For any businessperson, benevolence is a key virtue. It’s that will and desire to give charitably. To have a giving heart, not just monetarily, is so important to any guiding code of honor. It’s not just about writing checks. Thinking beyond that, benevolence is being generous of spirit. How can you practically help the people in need around you in your life? 

For real estate investors, it might be going above and beyond the call in the area of customer service. Or giving someone down on their luck a one-time break when they desperately need it. Not to mention just giving to charity regularly! 

Benevolence looks for the opportunities to do good: whether that’s charitable giving or helping those in need. 

2) Wisdom

Wisdom is not something you’re born with. Wisdom is your dedication to learn, grow, and deepen your understanding of people and the world around you. It’s knowledge, experience, understanding, and discretion. Wisdom is something you dedicate yourself to: whether you’re studying or just being intentional in learning from your life experiences. 

3) Courage

Courage. It seems like an old-time virtue, doesn’t it? Courage is doing the right thing, even when it might cost you. Courage is taking a leap even when the prospects are scary. It’s moving forward. It’s doing what you’re afraid of, and taking necessary risks. Successful business people? They especially need courage—something I think we’re all well-aware of!

4) Honor

A code of honor needs honor? Of course! Honor is carrying yourself with dignity. For a businessperson, that means you conduct yourself well in all matters. You keep your word, never say anything you would be ashamed of, and do everything you can to guard a good reputation. 

In business, honor is so important. I’ve said it before and the readers at Memphis Invest are probably sick of hearing it, but I’ll say it again! Nothing is more valuable than your reputation. It’s so worth guarding. It takes so long to build up, and it’s so easy to destroy. Guard your honor. Take it seriously.

5) Honesty

I think we can all agree that honesty is important. For the most part, we tend to think of honesty as not lying. But I think that definition needs to be broadened when we’re talking about virtues and being truly honest. If we’re dedicated to the truth: in business dealings, in our personal lives, in everything…

It might mean some uncomfortable things from time to time. For instance, owning up to mistakes. It might mean telling a friend or colleague when you genuinely think their idea is bad, when you know it will land them in financial trouble...even though it could cost you that friendship, and you could just as easily watch them crash and burn.

Honesty isn’t just about not lying to other people. It’s about being honest with yourself, too. Self-deception can be just as dangerous. In real estate investment, for example, I see people try to make numbers work that just don’t just because they love a property. And because of that, they fail. 

6) Diligence

Speaking of virtues in real estate investment...diligence! Specifically, due-diligence. Diligence itself is that careful, dedicated persistence to work. Anyone who wants to succeed has to have it. It’s that constant drive forward. For me, and real estate investors like me, it’s what keeps us on the ball. Diligence catches details and gets things done, even if cutting corners would be faster, easier, and most instantly-gratifying.

Diligence knows that the long way is ultimately going to be better for everyone: because it catches the mistakes, the problems, and the snafus. If you want to get it done, you do it with diligence. 

There are more virtues you could add to the list, but these, at least for me are core to a code of honor for any investor or businessperson who wants to lead and succeed. 

Do you agree? What would you put on your list? Let me know in the comments!