If you want to improve be content to be thought foolish and stupid.
Just yesterday I was working on something on my computer when I asked a friend how
was I supposed to do something. My brother yelled: Jesus you are so stupid! haha! (classic brothers joke) but there it is, pretty simplified, what Epictetus warned about. To improve you have to be willing to be thought stupid.
What could I have done? Perhaps looked it up for myself? Maybe, but that is not the point I’m trying to make. If I had looked it up for myself because I thought that it would be faster, it would have been just fine. What is wrong here is the fear of looking stupid. That is what would have impeded me to improve and know something I did not knew before.
How many times in our lives have we negated ourselves the opportunity to learn something for fear of looking stupid?
Think about your life, have you ever had any situations similar to mine? Maybe in the classroom or in work as well.
“To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”
― Albert Camus
Easier said than done right?
Specially today, when we are being rewarded for approval the entire day. The more likes and follows you get, the better you will feel about yourself. But don’t you think that this is just a different version of the story I told you about me and my brother?
We are too concerned by how others look at us.
By caring too much about what others think of you, you are, maybe not consciously but definitely voluntarily, striping yourself first, from learning and second, from individuality and independence.
It’s funny how we popularly think about a wise man as someone very, well, wise. With lots of experience and wisdom. We like to imagine Gandalf and we like to imagine power as well.
But here, in real life, a wise man is a person that has gone through a lot and therefore has a lot of experience. In fact a wise man has made a lot of mistakes but what differentiates a wise man from a foolish man is that he actually was willing to take the lesson from the mistakes he made.
That requires a learning mentality which is willing to be thought stupid and foolish.
Today, be willing to learn. Focus on the betterment of yourself and therefore society as a whole.
Besides this will free you, caring too much about what other people think is extremely mentally demanding. When you no longer care, you are free to be authentic and that feeling is just priceless.
Stoic answers aim is to provide answers for the deepest human questions, which sadly, are almost always never asked.
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