Creating a Virtuous Cycle

Creating a Virtuous Cycle

September 14, 2021

Creating a Virtuous Cycle

There are many concerns today that can significantly affect our thoughts, actions, and quality of life. Fires out west. A devastating hurricane in the south. Afghanistan. COVID. The list could go on and on.

There are many things that are beyond our control in life. However, we can choose to focus on those things we have control over.

My Grandmother Elmyra McGarraugh passed away on August 30, 2021, at the age of 102.  As family and friends gathered in Perryton, Texas to mourn her passing we also celebrated her long life.  She represented “True North” for our family’s moral compass.  Her voice is the dominant voice in our head when it comes to doing what is right.

The loss of our family matriarch has created the opportunity to renew a virtuous cycle to help us remain focused and become our best selves. Elmyra spent very little time dwelling on those things she could not control.  Creating a virtuous cycle is empowering and enduring. It often results in greater contentment and success in our lives. It is an upward spiral of potential and progress.

A virtuous cycle is a product of our choices. It is not dependent on good luck nor avoiding bad outcomes. The following three tips can help you create your own virtuous cycle:

  1. Surround Yourself with Great People. We tend to take on attributes of those we associate with. These social connections influence how we think, feel and behave. It’s easy to be negative and a cynic; much more difficult these days to be an optimist – that is a gift. Choose to be around positive people and allow their perspectives and disposition to rub off on you.
  2. Praise Others. Be liberal with complimenting others and slow to criticize. In our day this is much easier said than done. Direct praise (you are a great friend) is much better than comparison praise (you are a better friend than Scott). Combine gratitude with praise for the optimal effect (I appreciate how you listen and give me good advice). Direct praise increases another’s self-worth and your individual potential. 
  3. Avoid Negativity. We don’t always agree with others. Everyone has virtue and shortcomings. We can choose to focus on positive qualities of others (and ourselves) rather than their flaws.

Circumstances may influence us, but they don’t have to compel us. We can choose to act positively, rather than be acted upon by negative externalities.  Over 102 years my grandmother lived through numerous personal, national, and global tragedies.  Through all of them she continued to stay true to herself and was able to pass on the gift of optimism to her family.


Jason McGarraugh, CFP®, MS


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