You can’t control others’ acts, but you can control your reaction to their acts, and that is what counts most to you.
No one can make you feel any negative emotion — fear, anger, or inferiority — without your express permission. There will always be people who find perverse enjoyment in upsetting others, or who simply play upon your emotions so that they can use you for their own selfish purposes. Whether or not they are successful depends entirely upon you and how you react to their negative behaviors. When you are forced to deal with such people, recognize from the outset that they are trying to upset you, not because of something you may have done to them, but because of some problem they have with themselves. Tell yourself, “This isn’t about me. I will not allow this person to upset me. I am in control of my emotions and my life.”---Napoleon Hill
You know a lot. You’ve been alive a while. You’ve read a thing or two and heard a thing or two. You’ve come to trust yourself and the brain and gut that have served you well.
So when things happen, when people have questions—about history, about life, about why people are this way or that way—you’re quick with an answer. Even if you don’t say anything, you’re quick with a conclusion or a judgement when you see something. That’s who you are. A person who knows.
That’s a good thing right? Maybe not. It may well be a form of stupidity… and a form of misery.
“It’s impossible to learn that which you think you already know,” Epictetus said. To the Stoics, conceit was the greatest impediment to knowledge. Conversely, humility and curiosity were paths to wisdom. Think of Socrates, so beloved by the Stoics. What was he famous for? For what he didn’t know. For the questions he asked. And it certainly seemed like he was having a lot of fun as he did it.
In thinking you already—or always—know the answer to things, you’re preventing yourself from learning. You’re also preventing your kids, your employees, your colleagues from learning. Because instead of going to discover things together, they’re just relying on you to spit out facts and figures and explanations. You’re missing out on so much fun, too. Think of the conversations you’re not having, the questions that are not being asked, the things not being experienced.
If you didn’t think you knew, you’d be out doing and talking and questioning. Instead, you’re locked up in your smug little room of arrogant ignorance.
Ego is the enemy. Stop pretending or assuming you know everything. Focus on learning. Focusing on figuring stuff out. Focus on asking. Life is more fun this way. You’ll learn more too....the daily stoic
Heard #heardsomeingverychilling. Our behavior will determine if we survive the next 3 to 4 weeks or not. See you on the other side.
Reading is an indisputable good. How could it not be? It’s hard to criticize anyone who takes the time, in this crazy, busy (and shockingly ignorant) world, to sit and read a book.
But if wisdom is our aim, then of course, it’s not that simple. “I cannot call somebody ‘hard-working’ knowing only that they read,” Epictetus said. “Even if ‘all night long’ is added, I cannot say it—not until I know the focus of all this energy…” Spending hours or days in front of books is better than say, hours watching stupid internet videos, but it can still be a waste of time.
Great readers don’t just think about quantity, they think about quality. They linger over the works of master thinkers, as Seneca put it, they read as well as re-read. They read books that challenge their thinking. They read books that help them improve as human beings, not just as professionals. They would never say, as some people sneer, “I don’t have time for fiction.” Some of the best and wisest things ever written come to us in the form of literature!
In an age where far too many people default to breathless journalism or mindless internet streaming, it’s a good start to be bookish, to read a lot, to finish a stack of books each year. But it’s not enough. What you read matters more. How you read matters too. You have to attack subjects you’re not familiar with and spar with them until you are. You have to shy away from the quick or easy reads. You have to take notes. You have to apply what you learn in real, tangible ways. You must, as Epictetus said, make sure that your “efforts aim at improving the mind.” Because then and only then would he call you “hard-working.” Then and only then do you earn the title “reader.” ...Daily Stoic
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