To exercise anything is an active proposition. This means that we have to actively pursue noble (good) character through our actions. What is noble character however? In my opinion, it is an extension of both arête and what is known as the “Golden Rule”. It includes honesty, piety, courage, kindness, and all of the other things we refer to as virtues. Because of this, noble character is more of a journey than a destination as we have to practice these things throughout our lives. Parents take note, this Maxim is one that we need to follow “religiously” as our children take their example from us.
Nobility of character also includes the pursuit of the excellent in every aspect of our lives. Whatever we do, we should do to the best of our ability. This is where noble character gets its connection to arête – because of that pursuit we are tested and tempered. If we do not actively face our difficulties, we are not exercising that nobility that should be reflex. Nobility of character is not something that only some people can aspire to. It is innate in all of us should we choose to allow it.
Some people call Hellenic Polytheism a “heroic” religion because many people within that religious grouping emulate their heroes and pay homage to their spirits. I disagree with the “heroic” label because our heroes are ultimately men and women who have proven that they have nobility of character BY THEIR ACTIONS. These do not even have to be recognized by others as heroes – as long as they are a model for us.