The Rational Person Looks Inward

“These are the characteristics of the rational soul: self-awareness, self-examination, and self-determination. It reaps its own harvest… It succeeds in its own purpose…”


Notice anything significant in the quote above? Something repeated several times, perhaps? It’s the prefix ‘self-‘ getting mentioned again and again. That’s important. It’s because if you are trying to be a rational person, you need to look inward.

The rational soul only focuses on that which they can control — and that usually means ourselves. Almost nothing in the external world is within our ability to shape or influence. The only thing we can improve or change for the better is our own self.

We have to assess ourselves honestly, in order to have an accurate and truthful representation of where we currently stand. It’s critical that we see an unvarnished reality of our strengths and weakness, to understand our starting point. Otherwise we risk deceiving ourselves about what really needs work.

And then we need to put in the hard work to truly know ourselves and what drives us, what’s important to us. We have to do this urgently, because there is no guarantee how much time you have left on this earth. Any one of us could meet our final day tomorrow. Time is of the essence.

Finally, in keeping with the theme of ‘self’, we can say this: the result of all this hard work is self-evident and self-fulfilling. This is what Marcus is saying at the end of his quote in today’s page in The Daily Stoic; that focusing on yourself will yield great rewards where it counts. If the rational person looks inward, they will find immediate results and success by default.

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