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Don’t Try To Fix Other People, Fix Yourself

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After I wrote a book about ego last year, I noticed a similar questions popping up in Q&As. People would tell me horror stories about their boss and then say, “How do I help my boss deal with his enormous ego?” What they wanted were practical tips on how to fix this broken person because that broken person was making them miserable.

While that’s a totally understandable request, the Stoics would encourage us to think about it differently. As Marcus Aurelius wrote, “It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own.”

The essence of Stoicism is that it is inwardly focused. It seems only to speak and think about that which is in our control. And other people’s behavior is emphatically not within our control.

Remember that the next time you are complaining or frustrated by someone else’s ego or your spouse’s anxiety or a friend’s temper. That it’s silly to try to escape or fix them. Instead, try to escape and fix your own faults. There’s plenty of work to do there, trust me. Enough to keep you busy for a lifetime, without ever needing to waste a second getting involved in somebody’s else’s personal business.