The Daily Stoic for August 20th, “Where It Counts”.

“Inwardly, we ought to be different in every respect, but our outward dress should blend in with the crowd.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 5.2

“Be different” -today’s advertisement industry claims- “by buying this”. As if defining yourself depended on the clothes you wear, or how you curl your hair. Urban tribes, Instagram, the media… we live in the age of appearance, and there’s a lot of pressure to convince you of the fact that, indeed, that’s true.

Where It Counts

I have changed my appearance uncountable times. From heavy to grunge, from bright, indie poppy to just plain minimalist. Most of the times, those external appearance changes were motivated by a deep inner change.

However, what I’ve learned with time is that those are not the biggest changes. The biggest changes happen inside, and are hardly noticeable in the outside. Perhaps not on your clothes, but maybe in the way you look at things, or the way you talk about things.

I have had quite a few of that changes too in my life. Most of the times, those changes, even only marginally noticeable from the outside, are a real revolution. Peter Greenaway expressed it very well in one of my favorite films: “The Pillow Book (1996)”.

“Unlike Sei Shonagon, all the lists were negative. That was the first fire.
There was to be a second. Both fires marked a big change in my life.”

And it’s ok to change. Don’t let people or the society tell you otherwise. And don’t judge others by their appearance.

Conclusion

Today’s Daily Stoic, “Where It Counts”, discusses appearances, and how real changes happen not on the outside, but inside of us.

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