The Daily Stoic for March the 6th: “Don’t tell yourself stories”.
“In public avoid talking often and excessively about your accomplishments and dangers, for however much you enjoy recounting your dangers, it’s not so pleasant for others to hear about your affairs.”
—EPICTETUS, ENCHIRIDION, 33.14
The other day I was contacted by a fellow freelancer and ex-digital nomad via the blog. He told me he is trying to speak to someone new every week. Someone interesting to share ideas and points of view. I thought it was a cool proposal.
Thus, we had a short but quite interesting talk today. we talked about the digital nomad lifestyle, music, the e-Residency program, and my company in Estonia. Also, we talked about his projects, specially about how he is trying to promote freelancing and remote work in Spain, a much-needed initiative.
I thought it was an amazing talk, certainly worth the invested time.
Then, when I read today’s stoic, I got to this sentence:
“…there is another reason not to tell stories about your past. It’s boring, annoying, and self-absorbed. It might make you feel good to dominate the conversation and make it all about you, but how do you think it is for everyone else? Do you think people are really enjoying the highlights of your high school football days?”
And I couldn’t help but wonder if I was this guy: talking about my past and bragging about my stuff. I have this blog where I write about myself after all. Doesn’t that turn me into this egocentric, self-centered asshole?
Don’t Tell Yourself Stories
I decided it was something worth analyzing. After thinking a lot about it, I decided I am not like that.
First of all, the conversation was not about me. It was not an assented monologue like the Dialogues from Plato. Not only I discovered new initiatives and ideas, but was glad to find out that things are changing in Spain for the better.
Then, thinking about my blog, I realized that the motivation behind writing all this is sharing my experiences to help or encourage others. If I was a rich man traveling the world while doing six figures a month out of an online business, I would probably be able to brag about what I have achieved.
But that’s not the case (yet?)
Finally, I don’t feel really comfortable talking about myself. The older I am, the more I enjoy listening instead of talking, learning and knowing different points of view.
I hope I am not telling myself stories here. However, as the Chinese proverb affirms: “nobody is a good judge in his own case”.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Don’t tell yourself stories”, discusses how we should avoid talking about ourselves, trying to be the center of attention. I think we all like to think that we don’t do that. However, after having a conversation today with a fellow freelancer, I wondered if I could be falling into that trap myself. Thus, I decided to analyze if that was the case.
My final verdict: I don’t think I am that guy. Nonetheless, I will anyway try to be less selfish, and listen more while I talk less about myself.