We spend a lot of time worried about what other people are going to do. Will that colleague muscle you out of the way for the promotion? Will another coffee shop or yoga studio or accountant open up on the block and steal your customers? Is so-and-so out to get you? Is the government plotting to raise your taxes or regulate your industry?
From these fears come many actions. We get them before they get us. We spend money lobbying or setting up defenses. We call up friends or mentors, ranting and raving. The irony is that all this energy and anxiety is taking our eye off the ball. It’s a distraction from our day-to-day responsibility. And, more importantly, history shows that very few empires are destroyed by external forces. They’re usually undone by the hubris and arrogance and selfishness of their own people and leaders. As Pericles famously said, “I fear our own mistakes more than the enemy’s schemes.”
It’s essential that we remember this. We should be far more concerned with our own ego and our own inadequacies than what someone else may do to us. Besides, which do we have more control over? Which can we 100% block? Someone else’s actions? Or our own? Marcus Aurelius put it definitively and adamantly, and which is why today we must chase…
“The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do.”