The Stoics would have loved the expression we have today: Don’t talk about it, be about it. In fact, this was a theme Epictetus hit time and time again. “Don’t explain your philosophy,” he said, “embody it.”
Real leaders don’t waste their time comparing themselves to other people or complaining or bragging. Their actions speak for themselves. They aren’t on social media marketing themselves, they are building things that sell themselves. The people we most admire are the same way. They don’t need to tell you what they believe—it’s written all over every inch of their body. Somehow even their posture—ramrod straight—tells you they are firm and full of conviction. Marcus Aurelius said that these types are like a smelly goat…you know when they are in the room.
“Never call yourself a philosopher, nor talk a great deal among the unlearned about theorems, but act conformably to them. Thus, at an entertainment, don’t talk how persons ought to eat, but eat as you ought.”
How much better we would all be if we put less energy into talking and branding and more into the work. Into being about it. Into embodying these principles that we write and read about here. Let your actions speak for you. Let your results speak for you. That’s philosophy.
Everything else is chatter.
P.S. This was originally sent on July 21, 2019. Sign up today for the Daily Stoic’s email and get our popular free 7-day course on Stoicism.