This value concerns the quality you exhibit when you do your absolute best at whatever you are attempting. Arete is a Greek word dating back to the writings of Homer, where it was used to imply courage. It later evolved to describe the duty to improve oneself.
When considered in the context of Personal Responsibility, Arete yields a profound conclusion: you answer only to yourself in your pursuit of self-improvement. When you believe you have achieved this improvement, only you will know the true triumph (or ease) of your achievement; when you believe you have failed, only you will know if you truly gave it your best effort.
This is the value implied by a belief in free will. Free will is the notion that nothing in this life is pre-determined; you are always free to make choices.
The subtle and profoundly important truth of free will lies in its relationship to Arete, from which arises the value of Personal Responsibility: in pursuit of Arete, you are honor-bound to make the best choice you can make. You and only you—no matter what others may see or believe—are responsible for making the choice that furthers your pursuit of Arete. Once the choice is made, you remain responsible in this pursuit of Arete; if you succeed, your Arete is furthered by the success; if you fail, you pursue Arete by taking responsibility for both the decision and the failure to execute.
A strong sense of courage is required to accept the value of Personal Responsibility, because every choice includes the option to do nothing, as any leader knows. At Morningstar, we embrace Personal Responsibility with a strong belief that, by pursuing Arete, we will accomplish any goal to which we set our minds.
This value is about finding peace in the moment.
For our purposes, Equanimity involves the acceptance that everything is perfect exactly as it is. This is closely related to Personal Responsibility and free will: the current moment is the ultimate conclusion to all of the decisions you’ve ever made. If you have made each decision with acknowledgement of free will and in pursuit of Arete, it follows that the current moment could not possibly be more perfect. This does not imply a surrender to circumstances or a disregard for the future; rather, it reinforces the values of Personal Responsibility and Arete : if things are not perfect, only you are responsible, and in order to take responsibility you must increase your focus on Arete.
This value implies the deepest knowledge of self, and the uncensored sharing of yourself with others.
Authenticity is the deepest personal foundation upon which Arete, Personal Responsibility, and Equanimity are built. You cannot know the goals of personal improvement, the ultimate consequences of your actions, or the feeling of peace until you know yourself.
Pragmatically, Authenticity requires you to observe your own thinking as an outsider, to know why you believe what you believe, to understand your own philosophy of life and how it influences your thinking. It is only through such introspection that you can achieve full control over your mind and direct it fully toward your life’s purpose. It is at this point that the pursuit of Arete, Personal Responsibility, and Equanimity becomes almost automatic. This is also the point at which it becomes automatic to be completely genuine with other people, to constantly reveal what you truly believe—because the sincerity and peace with which you reveal it are embedded in the belief.