Magnanimity is not a common term. Many people do not recognize it when they hear it. But they know it immediately when it is explained, and most know it as one of the areas they can personally improve upon. For too many of us are quick to seek revenge, swift to criticize, fast to find fault, and speedy to get even. Yes, too many of us are slow to hold our tongues, slow to forgive, and even slower to forget. One of the leading reasons for a lack of magnanimity is what I call a scarcity mentality. People with a scarcity mentality think there is only so much in the world to go around. It’s as if they see life as a pie. When another person gets a big piece, then they get less. Such people are always trying to get even, trying to pull others down to their level so they can get an equal or even bigger piece of the pie. But it is an abundance mentality and a feeling of inner security that truly are at the root of magnanimity. And though magnanimity may not be an everyday term, it will always be one of the most distinguishing characteristics of Everyday Greatness.
- How would you rate your ability to control your emotions, to pause before acting or reacting?
- How would your friends, children, or work colleagues rate your emotional control, especially under heated conditions?
- Has someone deeply offended you recently? How did you respond? Were you magnanimous? How would you respond differently if again given the same circumstances?
- One of the highest forms of magnanimity is forgiveness. Is forgiveness a consistent part of who you are as a person?
Everyday Greatness: Inspiration for a Meaningful Life
Stephen R. Covey and David Hatch