Daily Touch of Inspirations

August 8th: Start with where the world is

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

Do now what nature demands of you. Get right to it if that's in your power. Don't look around to see if people will know about it. Don't await the perfection of Plato's Republic, but be satisfied with even the smallest step forward and regard the outcome as small thing. — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.29.(4)


Have you ever heard the expression "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough"? The idea is not to settle or compromise your standards, but rather not to become trapped by idealism.

The community organizer Saul Alinsky opens his book Rules for Radicals with pragmatic but inspiring articulation of that idea: "As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be. That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be — it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be."

There is plenty that you could do right now, today, that would make the world a better place. There are plenty of small steps that, were you to take them, would help move things forward. Don't excuse yourself from doing them because the conditions aren't right or because a better opportunity might come along soon. Do what you can, now. And when you've done it, keep it in perspective, don't overblow the results. Shun both ego and excuse, before and after.

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

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