#1585 Areté +1° #386: Moral Charisma

Your Virtuous Soul Force in Action

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, another micro-chapter from our new book, Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential.

451 ideas like this to help you move from theory to practice to mastery today.


In our last +1°, we talked about the Soul Force equation and the fact that CONSISTENCY is the exponentializer that activates our infinite potential.

I repeat: We activate our Heroic superpower (Soul Force!) by getting our Energy Focused on What’s Important Now CONSISTENTLY.

Today I want to talk about the fact that cultivating this superpower was, essentially, the whole point of ancient Chinese philosophy as well.

We talk about this in our Philosopher’s Notes on Edward Slingerland’s GREAT book Trying Not to Try in which he integrates ancient Chinese philosophy with modern neuroscience. It’s fascinating stuff.

Here’s the short story. Ancient Chinese philosophers (like Confucius and Lao-tzu) were all about helping people experience the state of wu-wei (pronounced ooo-way).

We translate wu-wei as “effortless action” or “spontaneous action” but it, like so many of the beautiful ancient words we explore, has a deeper meaning—something closer to effortless noble or virtuous action.

In other words, ancient Chinese philosophers wanted to help people get to a point where they effortlessly showed up as the best (most Heroic!) version of themselves.

(Sounds a lot like eudaimonia, doesn’t it?)

How did they help people do that?

They focused on helping them cultivate what was known as de (pronounced duh, as in “no duh”).

What is de?

As Slingerland says: “People who are in wu-wei have de, typically translated as ‘virtue,’ ‘power,’ or ‘charismatic power.’ De is radiance that others can detect, and it serves as an outward signal that one is in wu-wei.”

(Sounds a lot like Areté, doesn’t it?)

Slingerland also describes that felt sense of power as “moral charisma.”

Virtuous, charismatic power. (What a beautiful phrase!)

Also known as… Moral charisma.

Also known as… Soul Force.

How’d you like some of THAT?!

Our +1°…

Think of the most radiantly alive person you know—the one you most respect and admire.

Imagine yourself in their presence.

You know that energy you feel from them?

That’s their moral charisma.

Or… As we like to say, their Soul Force.


Imagine YOURSELF as the most radiantly alive version of you. See yourself going through your day EFFORTLESSLY expressing the best version of yourself.

Feel the eudaimonia and the virtuous, charismatic power of your Soul Force being fully expressed.

Got it?


Go BE that best, most Heroic version of yourself.


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