The Daily Stoic for September 19th, “Flexibility Of The Will”.
“Remember that to change your mind and to follow someone’s correction are consistent with a free will. For the action is yours alone—to fulfill its purpose in keeping with your impulse and judgment, and yes, with your intelligence.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.16
Both in life and in business, we associate a strong, determined man or woman with success. Steve Jobs had a vision and was ruthless about what others thought. A strong, successful entrepreneur is not supposed to listen to others either. Brave men and women with strong ideals and values are the ones who deserve our respect and admiration…
Flexibility Of The Will
… Only, in my experience, that is just science fiction. It’s ok to have a strong will, and a strong vision. It’s perfectly fine to know what you want and do things your way.
You need to listen to others. You need to be able to change your mind and your opinion. When we are younger, we are all kind of stubborn. I certainly was.
But I have changed my mind so many times about so many things… I don’t consider myself as the sum of my opinions anymore. Your opinions will change. You will change. And that’s healthy.
There seems to be this obsession nowadays with strength, with what’s a weakness and what’s not. It’s like we need to justify who we are or how we react to things to make sure we are not weak, or evil, or selfish… And I think I’ve had enough of that. I’m not perfect so, yes, sometimes I’m weak, or evil, or selfish. I don’t care. I try to be a good person. I just don’t expect to be perfect anymore.
So is flexibility “its own kind of strength” as today’s stoic meditation affirms? I don’t think so, but I don’t really care. And you shouldn’t either. You don’t need to be always strong, firm and implacable. You can also be flexible.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Flexibility Of The Will”, discusses flexibility of character as a positive trait, instead of a weakness. I wanted to go one step further and affirm that we don’t need to always strive for strength, fortitude, generosity and perfection. We are human beings after all.