Double your productivity and attractiveness
Below is a quote by Marcus Aurelius, followed by my two cents.
“Then what is to be prized?
An audience clapping? No. No more than the clacking of their tongues. Which is all that public praise amounts to – a clacking of tongues.
So we throw out other people’s recognition. What’s left for us to prize?
I think it’s this: to do (and not do) what we were designed for. That’s the goal of all trades, all arts, and what each of them aims at: that the thing they create should do what it was designed to do. The nurseryman who cares for the vines, the horse trainer, the dog breeder – this is what they am at. And teaching and education – what else are they trying to accomplish?
So that’s what we should prize. Hold on to that, and you won’t be tempted to aim at anything else.
And if you can’t stop prizing a lot of their things? Then you’ll never be free – free, independent, imperturbable. Because you’ll always be envious and jealous, afraid that people might come and take it all away from you. Plotting against those who have them – those things you prize. People who need those things are bound to be a mess – and bound to take out their frustrations on the gods. Whereas to respect your own mind – to prize it – will leave you satisfied with your own self, well integrated into your community and in tune with the gods as well – embracing what they allot you, and what they ordain.”
It seems to me that if your sense of self-worth comes from the approval of others you will always be anxious and paranoid. Why? Because that status takes tremendous self-censoring and effort to maintain, and it can be taken from you at absolutely any moment, at the whim of opinion.
You’ll constantly find yourself struggling to maintain a false image: you think people admire a particular thing, and so you force yourself trying to become it. The result is that you end up fighting against your nature, the genetic predispositions that make you who you are – and that’s a battle that you can’t win.
Funnily enough, it also seems to me that on some level people subconsciously understand this, because they tend to disrespect people who try too hard to gain their approval. The one that people genuinely admire is usually the one who is comfortable and confident with who they are, and makes no compromise to their character for anybody.
So it seems to me that one of the best decisions you can make in your life is that to prioritize acting in accordance with your nature over the opinions of other people. And if you have the courage to do the things that your nature has predisposed you to love to do, then you’ll no longer feel the need to look outward for approval.
This doesn’t mean going around being a self-centered dick. If you think that you’re somehow inherently more valuable than another human being, you’re deluded – arrogance is just a need for external validation on steroids.
To honestly do what’s in your nature I think means to align your work and life with your genetic inclinations – that is, to stop forcing yourself to act in a particular way, or to do things because you feel like you should. And instead, do the things that you want to do.
When you align your life with what you naturally feel inclined to do you feel a powerful harmony; it fills you with energy. You’re happier, and naturally more disciplined and focused because of it.
You become immune to petty drama around you and develop hyper-focus: an hour of yours is equivalent to two of another’s, you can work for hours and hours no end with no desire to slow down, because you’re so engaged in what you’re doing.
This is where all the greatest breakthroughs in the arts and sciences come from – how could it be any other way? The only way to rack up the tens of thousands of hours required for mastery of a discipline, to become world class, and contribute something unique that improves the lives of others is to align with what you are genetically predisposed to love to do.
It doesn’t just lead to faster results either: it also magnetizes you as a person. Your eyes sparkle with enthusiasm and creative energy. You talk and listen with an intensity that seems alien in a world of habit and detachment, and this strikes a deep emotional chord with people.
It seems that this kind of emotional connection to the experience of life and to work is something that everybody wants, and in taking the leap to get it for yourself you become a beacon of light in your community.
You won’t just feel better, but you’ll make the world a livelier place when you stop giving a fuck.
This article is part of a series on “Perspective”, and I have much more where it came from.
Your quality of life is 100% dependent on your perspective.
Nothing can phase you with the right perspective. Life is beautiful. And not in a trivial way. It’s absolutely fucking mind-blowing how beautiful it can be.
The problem with maintaining perspective is that it can feel like digging a hole in the ocean – with every heave of the shovel the water just floods back in.
And for that reason it’s easy to just drift through life unconscious, blown around like a leaf in the wind, and suffering because of it.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. The more you realign with it the longer it sticks, and eventually you can entrench it permanently.
So I’m going to keep writing about it and sharing my insights, and if you want to come on this journey with me drop your email below and check out the social media icons.
Stick with me, and I’ll do my best to keep us both on track.
Much love ❤