Daily Touch of Inspirations

July 23rd: Receive honors

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

Receive without pride, let go without attachment.— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 8.33

In the midst of the breakdown of the Roman Republic, during the civil war between Pompey and Caesar, Pompey made the decision to give control of the military fleet to Cato. It was a massive honor and hugely powerful position. But then a few days later, responding to the protests of his jealous inner circle, Pompey reversed his decision and took the command away.

It could have been seen as an enormous public humiliation — to be given a promotion and then have it taken away. The record shows that Cato's reaction was basically nothing. He responded to the honor and the dishonor the same way; with indifference and acceptance. He certainly didn't let it affect his support for the cause. In fact, after the snub, he worked to rally the soldiers before battle with inspirational speeches — the very men who should have been under his command.

That's what Marcus is saying. Do not take the slights of the day personally — or the exciting rewards and recognition either, especially when duty has assigned you an important cause. Trivial details like the rise and fall of your position say nothing about you as a person. Only your behavior — as Cato's did — will.

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

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