Reflection – Nov 19

Throughout this endeavor, I have had great success in most of the spheres of which I was attempting. However, I found that the goal of Confidence was as arduous a journey as I had feared. I was often unable to meet the expectations that I had set for myself, and was left disappointed in myself.

I knew from the offset that this would be a challenge for me. I have struggled with Confidence for all of my life, though less so this year than previous ones. Even before formalizing my goals for this journey, I had begun the slow process of becoming comfortable and happy in unfamiliar spaces. I believe this to be immensely important to a happy, successful life. I had hoped to hone these sporadic attempts into a more concerted effort. I had some success in this regard, but I could not meet my own expectations.

I do not mean to imply that I had no success in this regard. I have been making small steps, and a few large ones (namely, running Ping Pong Club), but these have been few and far between. My true downfall, with regards to Confidence, was my lack of direction and strategy. For my other virtues, I set concrete goals and stratagems for achieving them. For Confidence, however, I simply told myself that I would try, a vague and rather pointless statement. I believe that, had I had a clearer idea of my goals from the beginning, I would have reached much farther.

My greatest success was in the virtue of Responsibility. Before embarking on this quest for perfection, I often struggled with procrastination, putting off work until the last moment. However, for the past two weeks, I have spent almost every night relaxing for a couple of hours after finishing my work for the day as much as two hours earlier than I had before. For many of the nights, I had little to no work whatsoever, due to my Responsibility earlier in the day. I plan to continue this trend, as I have found that it has a dramatic positive effect on my levels of stress and my mental health.

As for my other virtues, I am satisfied with my attempts. Of the other three, I believe Order was my most lacking in growth. Fortunately, it was also the virtue that needed the least growth, as I never struggled all that much with it in the first place. I did clean and organize my work, but I failed to set any habits of it to help in the future. For Resolution, I met and somewhat surpassed my expectations. Not only did I complete my goal to paint a miniature in the two-week period, it ended up being one of my favorite that I have painted. With regards to Health, I certainly succeeded, but not so much so as I did with Responsibility or Resolution. I believe my success was supremely increased due to the fortune of wonderful weather. I was able to enjoy multiple walks around my neighborhood, and running Ping Pong Club also helped immensely.

Overall, I am happy, though not overly so, with my efforts. I could have worked harder, but I certainly could have been less diligent as well. The purpose of this quest was not to dwell on my failings and go back to my old ways in despair. I shall instead take my successes and capitalize on them, creating habits that will, if all goes well, help me in becoming a better person.

Connor Burrows – Nov 18

Order 4/5 – I did a pretty good job of organizing my day to get as much work done as possible while in school, which felt good (not as much in the moment, but more so now). I didn’t waste much time today, and that always leads to a better evening.

Resolution 5/5 – I finished the figure!!! I spent a good hour and a half today doing the finishing touches, and I think it turned out super well. I plan on painting another figure over break, and I’ll try to keep up with resolution as I go forward with that.

Confidence 1/5 – I’m sad to end my journey towards Confidence like this, but my day was so busy that I just forgot to work on this one today. Overall, I definitely improved with this virtue, but today was not a good day for it.

Health 5/5 – I walked my dogs today, which is always a good workout. Despite being pretty old, they walk a lot faster than you would expect. I forgot to take any pictures on the walk, but I do have a picture of my dogs

Left: Lexi

Right: Charlie

Responsibility 5/5 – I was very responsible with my time management today, so I ended up getting all of my work done for the night before getting home from school. I normally spend free time in my classes on my phone, but I spent most of my time today doing homework, and it feels great now.

All in all, I’ve made a lot of progress with my virtues, though I have had more success with some than others. I really enjoyed this project, and I plan to try to keep going with at least some of the virtues that I’ve been working towards.

I hope everyone has a wonderful break! 🙂

Connor Burrows – Nov 17

Order 4/5 – I went around the house tonight and cleaned up a bunch of papers that I had let pile up. I tend to avoid cleaning until I can’t ignore it anymore, so I’m pretty proud of taking initiative tonight, even with something so small.

Resolution 3/5 – As a typing this, I haven’t done any painting tonight, but I plan on ending my night with that, as it is a good way to relax just before going to bed. I’m giving myself a preemptive 3/5, despite not having done anything just yet.

Confidence 5/5 – I ran Ping Pong Club for the second time today, which was tons of fun! I was much more relaxed this time, and had a better time because of it. I just let myself have fun with friends, instead of stressing over small problems and inconveniences.

Health 5/5 – Ping Pong is honestly a great way to get exercise. I suppose it is possible to just stand there and swing your arm around, but the fun comes from really getting into it. The constant movements not only help you in the game, they’re also good for you, unless you’re like me and hurt your back trying to reach for the ball.

Responsibility 1/5 – I had some work that I could have done today, but I have free time in a few of my classes tomorrow, so I decided to just do it then. I’m pretty ok with the decision, honestly, because it means that tonight can be a time to decompress a bit, as I’ve been feeling kind of stressed lately.

Overall, I had a pretty good day, and I’m very happy that break is just two days away 🙂

Connor Burrows – Nov 16

Order 2/5 – I was kind of disorganized today, and despite getting a lot of work done, I didn’t split it up into very reasonable sections. Because of this, I ended up doing a lot of work later than I would have liked, but I got it done.

Resolution 4/5 – I did a good bit of painting today. I’m finally getting to the less monotonous parts of the figure, which is fun. I did a drybrush of orange onto the metal plates to resemble rust, which I think turned out well (though it looks a bit strange in the picture – I swear it looks better in person). I also started on the inner portions of the golem, and I’m excited to work more on them.

Confidence 4/5 – I was a lot more relaxed and confident in my classes today than I normally am. I don’t really know why, I think it might just be random, but it felt good nonetheless. Tomorrow is the second meeting of Ping Pong Club, and I’m less nervous for than the last, which is a good sign.

Health 5/5 – I went on a really nice walk around my neighborhood to enjoy the beautiful weather tonight. I took some pictures, and the lighting turned out really cool (especially on the second one).

Responsibility 3/5 – I got a lot of work done tonight, which I’m proud of, but I wasn’t super responsible about it. As I mentioned before, I didn’t start until it was already fairly late. Overall, not a bad day for this virtue, but certainly not a great one.

Connor Burrows – Nov 15

Order 4/5 – I didn’t do any major organization or cleaning today, but I did try to organize my notes a bit. On top of that, I have a pretty clear idea of how much work I need to do this week and a plan of when to do it, so that’s a nice change of pace.

Resolution 1/5 – I didn’t do any painting tonight, unfortunately. It just slipped past my mind for the most part, and by the time I remembered, I just decided to skip a day. I’m still definitely on track to finish by Friday, as long as I don’t miss another day like this.

Confidence 2/5 – I was hoping to work more on this virtue today, but I was pretty busy at school. Mondays really are hectic! I did continue my general efforts to be more outgoing in class, however, so I’m going to give myself a point for that.

Health 2/5 – I was definitely lacking a bit with this virtue as well today. I did try to eat healthily, but I got basically no exercise, unless you count walking up three flights of stairs with a backpack on. I plan on going for a walk tomorrow, as the weather is going to be beautiful.

Responsibility 4/5 – I got a good amount of work done today, and I plan on doing a lot tomorrow as well. I need to have a lot done by Wednesday, so I’m going to need to have a productive day tomorrow.

Connor Burrows – Nov 14

Order 2/5 – I didn’t do a ton to keep things orderly today, but I did try to avoid making more messes. Overall, not the best day for Order, but not too terrible either. I’m going to try to do better with this virtue over the next week.

Resolution 5/5 – I got the bulk of my painting done today, which was also the most boring part. I had to paint about 80% of the figure with two coats of the same paint, but I got it done. Honestly, despite being somewhat boring, this kind of thing is also super relaxing, so I was able to de-stress a bit.

Confidence 1/5 – Again, I don’t really see a way to work on this virtue over the weekend, so I think I’ll just have to wait until tomorrow.

Health 4/5 – I didn’t do any exercises today, but I did mow my backyard (hopefully for one of the last times this year). My house is on a hill, and my dogs have made my backyard a minefield of holes, so mowing is definitely not an easy task. It was a nice fall day, though, so at least I could enjoy the weather.

Responsibility 3/5 – I got some homework done, but only what I needed to do. I could have done more to make my workload this week a little lighter, but I decided to just relax for the rest of the night.

Connor Burrows – Nov 13

Order 4/5 – I didn’t do much with Order when it comes to school, but I did clean up a big mess of papers that had been gathering in my basement for the past month. Overall, I think I did a pretty good job with Order today.

Resolution 4/5 – As of writing this, I haven’t done too much painting, but I plan on doing more in a bit. I had to do something that I’ve never done before with a figure, which is to do a base coat of black paint for the whole figure. The reason being that metallic paints don’t show up well on the normally grey surface of the figure, so painting metal portions black beforehand really helps them pop. Unfortunately, the entirety of this figure is going to be metal, so I did the whole base coat before starting anything else.

Confidence 1/5 – I didn’t work on this virtue at all today, unfortunately. I don’t know how much I can do to work on it over the weekend, as most of my issues with this one come from school. I guess I’ll just have to make up the deficit over the next school week.

Health 5/5 – I ate more today than I did yesterday, and I also tried to pick a more balanced variety of foods. I also did some simple exercises, though it was unfortunately too cold for a walk tonight.

Responsibility 1/5 – I also neglected this virtue today. I didn’t get any homework done, so tomorrow night will probably be pretty busy. I’m not too worried about it, though, as I don’t have much work to do this weekend anyway.

Connor Burrows – Nov 12

Order 4/5 – I was able to get a better idea of what I need to do over the weekend, homework-wise. I don’t have too much to do, which is a nice change of pace from last weekend.

Resolution 5/5 – This was my main focus today. I now have a full color palette chosen for the figure I’m painting (picture below, though it’s a bit hard to see). I’m getting more and more excited to finally start painting it! I think this one’s going to turn out well, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Confidence 3/5 – I haven’t done much in the way of big achievements with Confidence, but I have been doing small things during my day to practice it. In particular, I’ve been trying to be more outgoing in school, as I am normally quite reserved.

Health 1/5 – I had a pretty terrible day with regards to Health. I didn’t get any kind of exercise done, which tends to make me feel generally physically bad. On top of that, I wasn’t really hungry for lunch, so I barely ate until I got home, and even then I didn’t eat enough.

Responsibility 2/5 – I didn’t get any work done tonight, but I like to just relax on Fridays. I think it’s very important to have a few days where you let yourself forget about work and just enjoy yourself.

Connor Burrows – Nov. 11

After seeing some other posts, I’ve decided to start a ranking system (1-5) to get a better idea of how each virtue is going on any given day.

Order 1/5 – I didn’t do the best job of being organized today. I waited until I started going homework to figure out what I needed to do, which I try to avoid. I hope to organize what I need to do over the weekend tomorrow.

Resolution 4/5 – I finally decided on a figure to paint! I still have to pick out a bunch of paints before actually starting the painting process, but I’ll hopefully get a lot of painting done over the weekend. I’m really excited to commit to this process, and I think it will turn out well.

Confidence 2/5 – I didn’t really do much that was outside of my comfort zone today. I think this virtue may not be too easy to practice every day, but I’ll try to find a way in the future.

Health 3/5 – I would have liked to go on a walk again today, but the weather kept me from that. I did do some core exercises, but I definitely could have done more for health today.

Responsibility 5/5 – I’m pretty proud of how early I got my work done today. I normally laze around for a couple hours after getting home, but today I decided to just get everything out of the way so I could relax tonight. I finished homework at 5:40, which is probably the earliest I’ve ever done it. Its super relaxing to have a nice, calm evening for a change, especially because the last couple of days have been really stressful.

Connor Burrows – Nov. 10

I had a great day today. I spent all of last night studying for a math test, which went very well. This is an example of the importance of practicing Responsibility. Furthermore, today was the first day of Ping Pong Club, which I just started. Two years ago, I never would have considered running a club, but here I am. It was a lot of fun, I just needed the Confidence to do it. Playing ping pong for an hour is also a great exercise, and Health is very important to me. I spent my time well on Tuesday and organized my work well, so tonight is homework free! Order is going pretty well for me so far (though it’s hard to measure anything yet). Regrettably, I haven’t started painting yet, but I promise to start soon (and post update pictures whenever I work on it).

Hope you have a great day!

Connor Burrows

Tuesday, November 9

Today is the first day of my two week journey for moral perfection. The two primary virtues that I focused on today were health and responsibility. The weather today was spectacular for November, so I took the opportunity to go on a walk through my neighborhood. It seems the fall colors have finally begun to show their faces, which made the walk all the more enjoyable.

I also got started on my homework much earlier than I ordinarily do, in an effort to take my first steps towards responsibility. I started working around 5:00 in the afternoon, which is fairly good for me. I normally start at 6:00 at the earliest, usually closer to 7:00. I have a Calculus test tomorrow, so I need to give myself plenty of time to prepare for it.

Besides all the studying, I had a nice day. I did well on my Psychology test, although I wasn’t exactly worried about it. Altogether, I think the first day of this journey has gone well, and I am exited for future posts.

Connor Burrows


The Quest for Moral Perfection – An Introduction

As of tonight, I am embarking on a two week journey towards moral perfection. I have two major reasons for committing to this goal. First, and foremost, I am doing this as a project for school. Objectively speaking, I don’t have much of a choice. However, I do not see this as a dull, dreary homework assignment. Instead, it is a challenge that I must rise up to meet. I do not aim to, nor altogether expect to meet every nuance of each virtue to which I am committing. Rather, I plan to give a steadfast effort to achieving each of them, as Benjamin Franklin attempted throughout his life with his thirteen virtues. My relationship with Franklin is strictly academic, save for my day-to-day interactions with technology derived from his many scientific endeavors. I have not read any of his works nor examined his life to any great extent beyond that which I have been assigned to in school. Furthermore, I have my fair share of scruples with regards to many of his beliefs, especially in his younger years. I do, however, believe that he did a fairly good job of redeeming his questionable, if not condemnable, views as he progressed through life. Reservations aside, I have a great deal of respect for his dedication to perfecting himself, and I am aware that it requires an unimaginable level of willpower to dedicate one’s entire life to such a goal.

I have committed to working towards five virtues which I have deemed myself to be, at least to some degree, lacking in. The first of these virtues is Order. I am, regrettably, quite unorganized most of the time. I struggle to keep both my physical and mental space orderly, and I find this to occasionally be quite frustrating. I am committing to recording all of my homework and other tasks that are to be done each day in an organized manner on this blog. The next of the virtues is Resolution. I have found throughout my life that I struggle to commit to long-term projects (rather ironic, as I am currently committing to a two week plan to fix this very problem). I especially struggle to commit to personal projects such as art, exercise, and other fun and/or healthy activities. I am committing to painting a miniature over the next two weeks, spending at least a while every day working on it and recording my progress on the blog. The third virtue on my list is Confidence. This one is slightly less tangible, and I don’t struggle with it quite as much as the others, but I still feel that it is important. I often struggle with acknowledging my victories, instead fixating on my mistakes. I am committing to find at least one success every day to celebrate and discuss on my blog. My fourth virtue, and one of the most important, is Health. Any semblance of physical fitness I had was utterly destroyed when quarantine began. I have never been good about exercising, so I gladly accepted an excuse to stay inside 24/7. I want this to change, as exercise is immensely important to a long, healthy life. I am committing to going on at least a mile-long walk every day. The final virtue on my list is Responsibility. I tend to procrastinate, putting my work off until the last minute. I wouldn’t say that I’m lazy, but I could definitely do a better job of separating my work into responsible segments. I am committing to doing my work before the deadline is right on top of me to help reduce stress and create a more healthy balance of life and work.

As I said before, I cannot reasonably expect myself to meet every requirement of every virtue on every day. My true goal is to give a good effort and hopefully improve myself. I will not be discouraged by my inability to achieve perfection. Instead, I will acknowledge my failures and learn from them, hopefully avoiding the same mistakes in the future. I truly hope that this will have a lasting positive impact on my life as a whole, and I am glad to have the opportunity to work on such a unique, challenging, and engaging project.