Essential Walk #2: Virtue versus Egotism

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter Series
Volume 22, Issue No. 2b
October 15, 2023

By Dan Coughlin


The only source of knowledge is experience

Here’s a brief recap from Essential Walk #1:

I define essence as a person’s thoughts, emotions, and will.

How a person channels their thoughts, emotions, and will impacts the health of their essence.

The person’s essence manifests itself in what the person says and does.

And what a person says and does affects their life and their work.

Virtue or Egotism

And now let’s focus on two paths your essence can take: virtue or egotism. This takes us right to the heart of the matter of this whole Essential Walks Series.

In MWD (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary):

  • Virtue means conformity to a standard of right.
  • Egotism means an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

I think when you move with virtue you strengthen the health of your essence, and when you move with egotism you reach for immediate gratification and instant pleasure, which weakens the health of your essence.

It certainly is not my role to tell you what you should have as your standard of right thoughts, right emotions, and right will. And it is also not my role to tell you where you have an exaggerated sense of self-importance that leads to obsessing over immediate gratification and short-term pleasure. Those are very important topics for you to dig into on your own Essential Walks.

Now is the time to go on Essential Walk #2. An Essential Walk is where you take a break from the busyness of your day-to-day life and go for a mental walk to really reflect on an essential topic. Here are the questions to consider.

Essential Walk Questions for You to Consider


  1. What do you consider to be the right thoughts for you to be thinking?
  2. What are the emotions you think are healthy to experience in your life on a regular basis?
  3. What do you consider to be the right direction for your thoughts and emotions to be heading?


  1. What thoughts do you have that you think are driven by egotism and a need for immediate gratification in an unhealthy way?
  2. What emotions do you have that you think are driven by egotism and a desire for instant pleasure in an unhealthy way?
  3. In what direction do you think your energy is heading when it is driven by egotism in an unhealthy way?

Then the next Essential Walk questions become:

  1. In what ways are you channeling your thoughts, emotions, and will toward making your essence healthier?
  2. In what ways are you channeling your thoughts, emotions, and will toward making your essence less healthy?
  3. What adjustments do you want to make to increase the health of your essence?

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