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.

Good Leaders Give This

Daily Stoic Emails

General Victor Krulak was an exacting Marine. He drove his troops hard. He cared about the tiniest details. He expected perfection. So you might think he would be upset–or at least disappointed–when a major leading review of troops inadvertently knocked off his own hat…which was then trampled by every Marine who followed.

Certainly the major was humiliated. Noticing he was missing from a party later that evening after the parade, Krulak sent one of his aides to the man’s house. As Robert Coram details in his book about Krulak, the aide delivered the major’s hat with a note from Krulak. All it said was,

“Dear Major, In 1934 a young Marine second lieutenant knocked off his cover while passing in review in front of President Roosevelt. I don’t think it seriously affected my career. Semper Fidelis, VHK.”

As we have said before, a Stoic is very strict. They have high standards. It’s part and parcel of being a leader. But they must complement this strictness with grace and tolerance. Remember, one of Seneca’s great essays is on the topic of clementia–or clemency. Marcus Aurelius was famous for his ability to work with and make use of flawed people. He admonished himself in Meditations to be more forgiving and think the best of others. He also spoke glowingly of the way that Antoninus, who he revered above all others, was so good at making people around him feel at ease.

Very few people need you to yell at them. Your best employees, your best allies–they have high standards for themselves too. They know when they screw up. They feel bad enough already. What they need is grace. What they need is help. What they need is a pick-me up.

Are you strong enough–strict enough with yourself–to give it?