Being humble


“…[Cato] used to laugh at those who delighted in such honours, saying that, although they knew it not, their pride was based simply on the work of statuaries and painters, whereas his own images, of the most exquisite workmanship, were borne about in the hearts of his fellow citizens. And to those who expressed their amazement that many men of no fame had statues, while he had none, he used to say: “I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue, than why I have one.” In short, he thought a good citizen should not even allow himself to be praised, unless such praise was beneficial to the commonwealth.”
The Parallel Lives 2.19.3

My monkey mind is constantly looking for ways to extol it’s own virtues and is peeved when my efforts are not rewarded and recognized by others. In other words, my monkey mind (ego) “desires” praise and rewards.

When I hear this conversation going on in my head I remind myself that it is my monkey mind that is driving the conversation, not my rational mind. As Buddha said, desire is the root of suffering, and as a Stoic, I know that I have no control over the thoughts and actions of others.

If my work is praised by others, so be it. If not, so be it. I will strive to derive my satisfaction from whether I feel that the work I did was good and correct, not whether it was recognized and rewarded by others. Seeking such praise as a motivation to what I need to do puts me in thrall to the whims of others. When I am my own judge, I take control of my life and actions.

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