“When you are going to attack any person violently or with threats, remember to say to yourself first, that you are by nature gentle; and if you do nothing savage, you will continue to live without repentance and without blame.” – Epictetus
Most of us, hopefully won’t find ourselves in situations where we are considering violently attacking or threatening another person. We are very likely however, to find ourselves in situations where we are going to find ourselves on the wrong side of unkind words or unnecessarily argumentative positions.
Same rules should apply. Before we go and start an argument we don’t need to have, or before we make the decision to say something we might think we need to get off our chest even though the words will be hurtful, we need to stop and think about the way we want to interact with the world. We also need to think about the reputation we are building as our reputation is probably the best metric we have to judge the character we are expressing to the world.
So before we go ahead and disagree with someone about a subject that might not be all that important, or before we tell someone what we really think without regard to their feelings, and definitely before we take a swing and knock someone in the face, we need to think about the way we want to be seen. Not in a vain way, we need to consider the fact that if we choose to go down that road, we are damaging our character and we have to ask ourselves if we are truly willing to trade our character for this moment.
And if our answer is yes, we should reconsider this point a few times before making a decision.
Virtus Fortis Vocat