Daily Touch of Inspirations

May 4th: What's truly impressive

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

How much better is It to be known for doing well by many than for living extravagantly? How much more worthy than spending on sticks and stones is it to spend on people? ~Musonius Rufus, Lectures, 19.

Think of all you know about the lifestyles of the rich and the famous. That so- and - so bought a home for so many millions. That so - and -so travels with their own barber. That so - and- so owns a pet tiger or an elephant.

The exact same gossip and notoriety was popular in Roman times. Certain Romans were known for the thousand of sesterces they spent on their koi ponds. Others were notorious for organic parties and sumptuous feasts. The words of Roman poets such as Juvenal and Martial abound with tidbits about these types.

The conspicuously wealthy earn and ultimately get what they want out of spending: their reputation. But what an empty one! Is it really that impressive to spend, spend, spend? Given the funds, who wouldn't be able to do that?

Marcus Aurelius courageously sold off some of the imperial furnishings to pay down war debts. More recently, Jose Mujica, the former president of Uruguay, stood out for giving 90 percent of his presidential salary to charity and driving a twenty five year old car. Who can do stuff like that? Not everyone. So who's the more impressive?

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

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