Join 300,000+ other Stoics and get our daily email meditation.

Subscribe to get our free Daily Stoic email. Designed to help you cultivate strength, insight, and wisdom to live your best life.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Don’t Let the Crazies Make You Crazy

Daily Stoic Emails

One of the paradoxes of life and leadership is that you need to listen to other people… and the fact that most people have no idea what they are talking about. 

Think about how tough this must have been for Marcus Aurelius. He knew that many of his predecessors had gone astray because they had lost touch, gotten high on their own supply, and stopped caring about anything but their own desires. At the same time, he knew that Rome was largely comprised of a mob of vicious, short-sighted and contradictory people. 

How do you manage to strike that balance?

One of the things he reminded himself of, when he heard feedback—positive or negative—was to think of the person giving it. What kinds of other things did they admire? What kind of vices did they submit to? Did they even know what they were talking about? He reminded himself that a world without shameless people was possible, that people would cheat and resort to tricks in the ring if you let them, that the shouts of the crowd were worthless. He didn’t want the crazy rantings or demands of the mob to throw him off his block. To divert him from his principles or to distract him. 

Meanwhile, he also always held in mind the glorious and inspiring examples of his ancestors and his heroes. Marcus cared what Antoninus would think, what Cato would have thought. He paid no mind to the person shouting at him in the street. He cared what his philosophy asked of him, not what would make him more popular. 

Crazy people are out there. Mean people are out there. People who have no idea what they are talking about are out there. In fact, they are probably the majority—at least right now. You’ll have to figure out how to ignore them. So you can pay attention to what matters, to the people who matter, and of course, to that little voice inside you. 

P.S. This was originally sent on July 25 , 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Stoic’s email and get our popular free 7-day course on Stoicism.