Seneca had a rule for those who have been placed in a high position or accumulated success or power:
“Bestow pardon for many things; seek pardon for none.”
By that he meant that with power comes responsibility. A responsibility to be understanding and lenient with those who work for and with you, as well as a responsibility to behave well despite the temptations of that power. This is a common theme in Stoicism, one we hear often in the writings of Marcus Aurelius: Hold yourself to a very high standard, and don’t make excuses when you fail to meet it. Meanwhile, leave other people to their standards and make every excuse you can when they fail. Be tough on yourself; be understanding to your fellow citizens.
Or conversely, you could go around begging for pardon for your many mistakes and demanding perfection from other people…but that doesn’t sound like a recipe for happiness or success.
P.S. Sign up today for the Daily Stoic’s email and get our popular free 7-day course on Stoicism.