Character Is Fate

personal development stoicism Jun 16, 2017
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"Actions Speak Louder Than Words"

At least that's what my mom always told me. But over the years I've decided that this is not such great advice. Sure, we should walk the walk and not just talk the talk, but what are we talking and walking for in the first place?!

"A Man's Character Is His Fate."

These are the translated words of the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus. He's long been a go-to dispenser-of-wisdom on how to live well. Heraclitus was a major influence on another source of timeless wisdom; the last of the late great Stoic philosophers, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Heraclitus and Marcus both have much to say on human nature and how to navigate the messy milieu that is human interaction. Both came to the conclusion that neither what we say nor what we do is of much significance. What really matters is who we are. In other words (Martin Luther King Jr.'s for instance), what is the "content of our character?" Or as the Stoics would say, our Virtue.

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

We can spend all day sculpting and promoting our image online or making a good impression out in the world, but at the end of the day, we are measured by the quality of our humanity. This is not determined by results like how much money we have, how many friends or fans we attract, what kind of home or neighborhood we live in, or what work we do or position we hold.

At the end of the day who we are is, well, who we are. We are measured by the good we have done. By the service to others in which we've engaged. By the care we have taken with the bounty with which we've been bestowed. By the generosity we've displayed in sharing the gifts with which we've been blessed.

Let our words and actions speak to who we are. That is what really matters.

Keep flying higher!


Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose.

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