Daily Touch of Inspirations

April 11th: If you want to learn, be humble

Ryan Holiday, The 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

Throw out your conceited opinions, for it is impossible for a person to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows. ~Epictetus, Discourses, 2.17.1

Of all the Stoics, Epictetus is the closest one to a true teacher. He had a school. He hosted classes. In fact, his wisdom is passed down to us through a student who took really good lecture notes. One of the things that frustrated Epictetus about philosophy students- and has frustrated all college professors since time began- is ow students claim to want to be taught but really secretly believe they already know everything.

The reality is that we're all guilty of thinking we know it all, and we'd all learn more if we could set that attitude aside. As smart or successful as we may be, there is always someone who is smarter, more successful, and wiser than us. Emerson put it well: "Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him."

If you want to learn, if you want to improve your life, seeking out teachers, philosophers, and great books is a good start. But this approach will only be effective if you're humble and ready to let go of opinions you already have.

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom Perseverance and Art of Living

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