The amazing impact of a role-model – Letter 20

In these series of blog posts I translate the Moral letters to Lucilius by Seneca into modern English. In Letter 20, he discussed why having a role-model is important. Titles are granted, but it’s your behaviour that wins respect.

Your deeds are far more important than your words and your words and deeds must be consistent.

Let your actions speak louder than words when you are on your journey to becoming the best possible person you can be.

Don’t get grumpy by, what in the grand scheme of things, are trivialities. If you do then this is just a reflection of the mood you’re in. Some of the time minor things will bother you, other times they won’t. When you don’t get flustered, think about why that is? I’m guessing it’s because you’re focused on the bigger picture?

Picture you ideal role-model. How would they react to these day-to-day frustrations? Would they set-them in the context of their lives as whole? Probably, and this is easily done if you have a clear and purpose in life. Overcoming the occasional barrier is normal, and something we should accept this.

Role-model values

To find your purpose in life, determine your values. What are the value of your role-model? When you act and live in accordance with these then your happiness will improve. Your values should be congruent with one another, they shouldn’t oppose each other. If they do then you’ll subject yourself to a degree of cognitive dissonance. Of course, there may be slight changes to your values over time. If you’ve devoted enough effort to developing them in the first place then there shouldn’t be many major deviations.

Now, I’m not saying living in complete harmony with your stated values will be easy, few people can do this. But what is important is that you have a clear direction then you’ll know when you’ve deviated from this path. It’s a little like reading a map. You’ll have a destination and you’ll know the route you need to take. On occasion you’ll need to look at the map to see if you’re off course. If you are then you’ll need to take action to get yourself back on course, heading in the right direction. Perhaps your original route isn’t relevant anymore? This is why you’ll need time to reflect.

Model the way

You have to model the way. Titles are granted, but it’s you behaviour that wins respect. Your deeds are far more important than your words and your words and deeds must be consistent.

Look around at what you have, or what is in the world already. Be content with this. This is what is means to be rich. In fact, not having a lot of money means that the people who rely on you, have to learn to rely on themselves. And finally, remember what I’ve said about preparation: practice hardship to prepare yourself in case it happens to you.

Take care.

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Photo by Carine L. on Unsplash

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