Daily Touch of Inspirations

June 3rd: It is well to be flexible

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

He can't serve in the military? Let him seek public office. Must he live in the private sector? Let him be a spokesperson. Is he condemned to silence? Let him aid his fellow citizens by silent public witness. Is it dangerous to enter the Forum? Let him display himself, in private homes, at public events and gatherings, as a good associate, faithful friend, and moderate tablemate. Has he lost the duties of a citizen? Let him exercise those of a human being. ~Seneca, On Tranquility of Mind, 4.3

Shortly before his death, as victory in the Civil War was finally within his grasp, Lincoln told a story to an audience of generals and admirals about a man who had approached him for a high ranking government appointment. First, the man asked if he might be made a foreign minister. Upon being turned down, the man asked for a more modest position. Upon being turned down again, he asked for a job as a low level customs officer. Finding he could not get even that, he finally just asked Lincoln for an old pair of trousers. "Ah," Lincoln laughed as he concluded the story, "it is well to be humble."

This story embodies the flexibility and determination of Stoicism. If we can't do this, then perhaps we can try that. And if we can't do that, then perhaps we can try some other thing. And if that thing is impossible, there is always another. Even if that human being- we always have some opportunity to practice our philosophy, to make some contribution.

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

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