Eyes on the Real Prize

“What’s left to be prized? This, I think — to limit our action or inaction to only what’s in keeping with the needs of our own preparation… it’s what the exertions of education and teaching are all about — here is the thing to be prized! If you hold this firmly, you’ll stop trying to get yourself all the other things… If you don’t, you won’t be free, self-sufficient, or liberated from passion, but necessarily full of envy, jealousy, and suspicion for any who have the power to take them, and you’ll plot against those who do have what you prize… But by having some self-respect for your own mind and prizing it, you will please yourself and be in better harmony with your fellow human beings, and more in tune with the gods — praising everything they have set in order and allotted you.”


In today’s page in The Daily Stoic, we are given many examples of famous moguls and celebrities who live beneath their means. Author Ryan Holiday makes the point that these people have unimaginable wealth but choose to live a simple life largely because that’s what they want. They have their eyes on the real prize, the prize that matters to them — not what society tells them they should value.

As a result they have clarity, and they have happiness. They are not full of the “envy, jealousy, and suspicion” that Marcus mentions in today’s quote, because they don’t want those other things. They’ve realized that we don’t need as much as we think, and that they can make do with less and still live a full life.

If we’re constantly chasing more, and bigger, and better things, then we’re robbing ourselves of the freedom that comes from letting those things go. By reducing our want, then we increase our happiness. That’s what it means to keep your eyes on the real prize. It means understanding what’s really important — and staying focused on that, and content with what you receive in life, rather than always wanting more (which will lead you down the path of destruction).

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Follow and get Billy's daily meditation:

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x