DO NOT ASK FOR REWARDS FOR YOUR WORK

Learn How to Fight EGO

Daniel González
Mar 18, 2019 · 9 min read

“The reward of a good deed is in having done it.” — Seneca

Being stoic implies mastering the art of being humble.

Why should not we look for rewards?

Rewards are just an extra.

If good fortune rewards us for our work, wonderful. But if it doesn`t happen, we should not worry either.

  • Maybe as an employee, you work extra hours to deliver a job that the boss does not thank you for.
  • Maybe as a student, you did something that none of your classmates thanked you.

We act according to our Ego

Doing jobs to seek praise only feeds our EGO.

Others Opinion don´t matter

It`s important that you understand this difference.

  • If you are designing a product, others opinions will allow you to know where there are errors in your product.

How should we proceed?

What you do well will not thank you. Still, your duty is to do things well.

Three characters that give us a good example of how to act

Socrates:

The famous philosopher whose way of thinking condemned him to death. He was pretty heated at the time. Even so, Socrates never failed to fulfill his duty. He never stopped philosophizing with his characteristic manner even moments before his death.

Cato the Younger:

He was the greatest defender of the Roman Republic, history remembers him as Julius Caesar’s greatest enemy. The life of Cato is characterized by the values of rectitude and by fulfilling his duty. Everything he did was a function of the good of the Roman Republic. Every time they gave him a prize Cato rejected them. He walked barefoot and with ugly clothes through the streets of Rome to make fun of him and thus not worry about his fame.

Flavius Belisarius

One of the greatest military strategists and at the same time one of the least known. His exploits are compared to those of Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great. Still, nobody knows him.

Exercises not to seek rewards for our work

1) Do not expect anybody’s thanks

Your duty is always to do what is right. It does not matter if only a person thanks you, if nobody thanks you, or if they criticize what you do. Your duty is to act because it is correct.

2) Contemplate the immensity of the world

The best way to keep ourselves humble is by contemplating the immensity of the world.

“Consider the lives led once by others, long ago, the lives to be led by others after you, the lives led even now, in foreign lands. How many people don’t even know your name. How many will soon have forgotten it. How many offer you praise now — and tomorrow, perhaps, contempt. That to be remembered is worthless. Like fame. Like everything.” — 30, Book IX of Marcus Aurelius

And Marcus Aurelius is right. We can be very successful, but in the end, we will always be one more.

3) Do not worry about your fame

And instead of exerting effort to gain fame, shouldn’t a person strive to overcome his thirst for it? — Lectures 7.2, Lectures and Fragments of Musonius Rufus

Fame search prevents us from doing all kinds of relevant work. Our work is reduced to the opinion of others.

4) Your work is not a big deal

Understand that what you do is not a big deal. There will always be someone who does the job better than you.

  • Maybe you’re a pretty good student but there will always be someone with better grades than you
  • Maybe you are millionaires but there will always be someone more with more money than you.

5) Understand that the Ego is your greatest enemy

There is nothing that more alters our perception of things than our own Ego. The Stoics struggled day after day to fight it.

What am I doing with my soul? Interrogate yourself, to find out what inhabits your so-called mind and what kind of soul you have now. — 11 book 5 of Marcus Aurelius

Conclusion

With this article, I am asking the opposite of what everyone says. I am doing the opposite of what others say.

Mentioned Books:

  1. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
  2. Discourses and Selected Writings by Epictetus
  3. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

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Daniel González

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I left COLLEGE because I had no MONEY. Now I'm a BARTENDER and I write about how an ECOLOGICAL and SUSTAINABLE BAR would be.

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