Today’s Daily Stoic, January the 28th: “Watching The Wise”.
“Take a good hard look at people’s ruling principle, especially of the wise, what they run away from and what they seek out.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 4.38
Today’s stoic passage suggests us to pick someone as a model or inspiration for our actions. This is probably the only stoic principle that I strongly disagree with.
(Not) Watching The Wise
When I was a child, I never liked superhero comics. Superman, Spiderman, Batman, the Avengers… they all seemed pretty flat and boring to me. Their motivation was so plain -saving the world, defeating evil…-, I didn’t really “buy” it.
Additionally, most of the times, what made them special was an innate superpower. Nothing they had “earned” with their own effort.
Curiously enough, it was the villains who normally caught my attention. They used to be clever, smart characters with strong personalities. Sometimes, they didn’t even have superpowers at all -like Lex Luthor-. Most importantly, they always had a troubled story behind.
They were definitely more interesting to me.
But it was clear to me that they were “the bad guys”. Their lack of empathy prevented me from really connecting with them.
Probably that’s the cause I grew up without models or roles as a child.
Of course, my parents were a strong inspiration for me.
Thanks to my mother, I developed my love for reading and writing at a young age. When I was five years old, my father put a Commodore 64 computer in front of me, and told me “This is the future, wanna play with it?”. That single gesture has probably had more influence in my life than anything else.
I also inherited from my parents a critical view of the world around me. As a result, I hardly had any hero or referential figure as a teenager.
That spirit has never left me, and has carried over to the present.
Follow Your Own Path
Thus, I would suggest you quite the opposite to today’s stoic.
Follow your own path. Don’t let it be defined by others. Actually, the things that worked for someone else will not work for you, especially in business. So don’t fall into the trap of trying to imitate other people’s success.
Make your own mistakes and learn your own lessons. Eventually, you will find yourself along the way.
Today’s Daily Stoic suggests us to find someone to serve as model or inspiration for us. Having grown up without those models myself, I would actually encourage you to the opposite.
Don’t look for someone to imitate or follow.
Create your own way of doing things, make your own mistakes, learn your own lessons, and end up being yourself, not the shallow reflection of a more successful, wise or acclaimed person.
Stop watching the wise, and have a look at yourself.