“The wise man does not think himself unworthy of any chance presents: he does not love riches, but he prefers to have them; he does not receive them into his spirit, but only into his house.” – Seneca
This thought is applicable to more than just riches. It lies at the heart of understanding what we actually have control over and what we do not. We might have riches today, we might lose them all tomorrow. But this detachment from things works on anything, even things that are not things.
We can invite the things people say about us into our thoughts without allowing them to reside in our minds, we don’ t have to dwell on something someone says about us or a criticism a person passes on to us. But we can think about these things and see if there isn’t some useful piece of information that we can glean out of their criticism or gossip. In the beginning it may help us to remind ourselves that we are winning if we take their bitter words and use them as a fuel for improvement rather than the stinging barbs they were meant to be.
But as we learn to take the things, good and bad, that life gives us and use them as we can to help us along our path, discarding the things we can not use, we will improve this skill set of detachment and emotional discipline.
And that will be worth more than riches.
virtus fortis vocat