“If you want to improve you need to accept that people will view you as senseless and foolish. You should want to be considered to know nothing: and if you begin to feel like a person of importance, distrust yourself.” – Epictetus
We’ve all heard the expression, ‘What others think of you is none of your business.’ And it’s true. We should be focused on controlling the things that are within our power to control and improving the things that are within our power to improve.
In some ways, we can control how people see us. We can set good examples, we can live good lives, and we can speak well of others. But we can not control how people choose to interpret our actions. Out of two people, one person may see us as self righteous and arrogant while the other sees us as naive and ignorant. Both may be right, it doesn’t really matter. Our focus should remain on controlling what we can. People’s opinions are good for feedback but need to be taken within context.
And if somehow we do find ourselves becoming popular or successful, we have to remember that this to is outside of our control and dangerous to our long term goal of a happy life. This is because living a life full of serenity and truthfulness is mutually exclusive from a life of self importance and shallow vanity.
virtus fortis vocat