On seeking approval of others

  • Do not seek approval of others. Focus on attaining your own approval.
  • Why?

    • Because judgement of others, praise or criticism , is based on outward appearances. If we wanted to we could mask out dishonesty, cowardice and greed. Or on the other hand they might fail to see our kindness, honesty and bravery if we fail to embellish our actions well enough. What is within can only be witnessed by yourself.

      "They do not see my heart, they see but my countenance." - Montaigne

    • Because it will keep us from doing anything useful.

      "You will be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing and why and what they're saying and what they're thinking" - Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)

  • Because opinions of others are ever changing. They are changing with times and trends. They are following the opinion of the multitude. Where as a practice, virtuous self is driven by reason, which is unwavering. What art has ever come out of the common? Where then would you rather expend your energy convincing, self or others ?

    “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).” ― Mark Twain

    • Because if we are driven by judgement, approval, praise of others then we are driven by vanity, which is by no means a virtue. Vices attract vices. We are more likely to do a makeshift job to keep up outward appearances as opposed to practicing virtues.

    • Because if we are driven by the opinions of others we are blinded from our own opinions. We borrow and follow. We avoid doing and falling and making mistakes and doing and failing and so on. In doing so we avoid getting stronger and learning from experimentation, we stifle art and creativity.We become what the multitude wants us to be. Commonplace.

    • Because it is a fact that we often, unknowingly, seek approval of people that we don't approve of. We seek approval of people who do not have goodwill and are full of vices. We seek approval of bad bosses, harmful parents and relatives, envious friends. Do you think you will ever gain their approval? If you do what value will this be to you?

      "'tis a mark that can never be hit."- Montaigne

    • Instead raise your own standards, make yourself difficult to please. Practice everyday to make yourself more virtuous than the multitude, so as and when you attain your own approval, there in no other approval more meaningful to attain.

    • Do your work virtuously and not to gain a name or reputation, as:

      "Actions of virtue are too noble in themselves to seek any other reward(approval from others) than from thier own value".- Montaigne

    "The reward of a thing well done is to have done it, the fruit of a good service is the service itself" - Seneca

    • If you can convince yourself that you are virtuous, what use would other people's opinions be to you? These words below are important read them repeatedly , everyday :

" Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves...Does anything genuinely beautiful need supplementing? No more than justice does- or truth, or kindness, or humility. Are any of those improved by being praised? or damaged by contempt? Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it? or gold or ivory or purple ? Lyres? Knives? Flowers? Bushes?" - Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)

These are notes from the following books -

Top up with -
On dealing with ambition

On dealing with work

On dealing with a wasteful life