“As the sun does not wait for prayers and incantations to be induced to rise, but immediately shines and is saluted by all: so should you also not wait for the clapping of hands and praise in order to do good, but be a doer of good voluntarily.” – Epictetus
We all know that we are supposed to do good in this life. None of us are surprised when we learn that doing good is a key component to living well, in any philosophy. And starting out, many of us will do some good, we will volunteer some time, give to an organization, help our neighbors and otherwise do what we can to live well.
And no one will notice and we will become discouraged and start to slip back into hanging out in the break room, catching up on gossip, gossiping ourselves, being unproductive at work and generally choosing not to live well.
Because what we fail to realize is, the reason doing good contributes so much to living well is because of how it changes us not because of how it changes the way people see us. By choosing to do what we know to be good in every situation we find ourselves in, we change the way we actually see these situations. This will change the way situations affect us. By changing the way situations affect us, we change the way we act in these situations and that is the reward. We are actually different. We are actually living well.
So let’s not worry about who sees us doing good, let’s worry more about how we are allowing doing good to change us into who we want to be.
Virtus Fortis Vocat