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Stop Expecting This | Cultivate Indifference

Stop Expecting This | Cultivate Indifference

Update: 2024-02-261
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At this point, you should have a pretty good understanding of human nature. That’s why we read history after all (and if you don’t, we suggest this reading challenge). You’ve met people—you’ve seen what they do. People lie. People take the easy way out. People chase the wrong things.

Not always, not all people, but most people, most of the time.

Yet here you are, perpetually shocked and disappointed. Perpetually upset and resentful.

Cato, it was said by Cicero, seemed to forget that he didn’t live in Plato’s Republic but in the “dregs of Rome” (more on this in Lives of the Stoics). Cato seemed to be pretty regularly surprised that everyone wasn’t as committed to virtue, wasn’t as disciplined about that commitment as he was. There was even a saying that folks he was disappointed often said to excuse themselves: “We can’t all be Catos.”

One of the great lines from the Stoics was “not to expect figs in winter.” Cato could have done a better job of that. We could all do a better job at this. Most people have not even heard of Stoicism, let alone committed to it. Most people just do what they want in the moment, what’s easiest in the moment. Most people are not trying to live up to any kind of standard.

So why are we expecting them to be anything other than what they are? Why are we surprised or disappointed? We don’t have to relax our standards but we can certainly lower our expectations.


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Stop Expecting This | Cultivate Indifference

Stop Expecting This | Cultivate Indifference