Words of Epictetus… as interpreted by Sharon Lebell
“Never depend on the admiration of others. There is no strength in it. Personal merit cannot be derived from an external source. It is not to be found in your personal associations, not can it be found in the regard of other people. It is a fact of life that other people, even people who love you, will not necessarily agree with your ideas, understand you, or share your enthusiasms. Grow up! Who cares what other people think about you!
Create your own merit.
Personal merit cannot be achieved through our associations with people of. You have been given your own work to do. Get to it right now, do your best at it, and don’t be concerned with who is watching you.
Do your own useful work without regard to the honor or admiration your efforts might win from others. There is no such thing as vicarious merit.
Other people’s triumphs and excellence belong to them. Likewise, your possessions may have excellence, but you yourself don’t derive excellence from them.
Think about it: what is really your own? The use you make of the ideas, resources, and opportunities that come your way. Do you have books? Read them. Learn from them. Apply their wisdom. Do you have specialized knowledge? Put it to its full and good use. Do you have tools? Get them out and build or repair things with them. Do you have a good idea? Follow up and follow through on it. Make the most of what you’ve got, what is actually yours.
You can be justifiably happy with yourself and at ease when you’ve harmonized your actions with nature by recognizing what truly is your own.”