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Getting Everything You Ever Wanted

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“And how trivial the things we want so passionately are.”Marcus Aurelius

There’s an old joke: When the Gods wish to punish us, they give us exactly what we’ve always wanted. Ask yourself what you’re after: Fame? Wealth? The perfect man or woman? Now imagine yourself when you get it. What comes next?

The problem, for most of us, lies in the belief that what we want will fill the void. It won’t. There are plenty of miserable rich people, sad and lonely models, self-pitying celebrities and bored titans of industry. They wanted trivial things—and they got them. Now all they can ask is, “Now what?” and “This is it?”

Much of Stoicism has to do with reacting to what comes at us with equanimity and poise. But this, too, is important: Quelling and quieting that voice in your head that becomes seduced by the latest fashions or fads or must-have riches. You don’t need them. More than that, you don’t actually want them.

And if you need a reminder of that—just look at the people who have them.