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a blog by Chris Barrow

Ethos - making the right choices

Reading The Daily Stoic this week, I was reminded of the definition of the Greek word "ethos".

"Ethos means "custom" or "character" in Greek. As originally used by Aristotle, it referred to a man's character or personality, especially in its balance between passion and caution. Today ethos is used to refer to the practices or values that distinguish one person, organization, or society from others."

Interesting that the definition in italics refers to "the balance between passion and caution".

Never more so than in the lacklustre leadership of the past few days regarding our activities over the Christmas period and the risks of transmission.

Passion - "I want to see my family over the holiday season."

Caution - "But I don't want the Covid-19 virus to pass one way or the other."

One of our guiding beliefs is self-determination - we pick our leaders as well as our withdrawal from trade associations and we must, therefore accept the maxim that "sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" (Robert Louis Stevenson).

It strikes me that using self-determination as an excuse for avoiding unpopular decisions (when it suits) is a cop out. Such a shame after the decisive action that was taken on 23rd March in the UK.

In the absence of leadership, over the days ahead, the nation's actions have been left to speak louder than words - we shall see.

In the meantime, I reflect on the "ethos" that has been demonstrated by my clients and friends in the dental community this year. Some quiet leaders have emerged - simply, people who have done the right things.

It seems a long time now since I shared "the moral maze" with my followers - the tough decisions we had to make at the start of this.

I'm very proud to be associated with people who made the right choices from the start and have continued so to do - people of character.

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