Contemplating Seneca #63: Your Motive

When you exercise, who are you exercising for? When you go to the gym, are you there to get in shape or to impress others?

This was the discussion I had last week with several colleagues.What is the motivation behind some of the antics seen in the gym? Too often, we see some ridiculous feat and wonder if it is really necessary. Is this act in line with the person’s fitness goals or is it to show off to people who are most likely not even watching?

When you’re 20 you care what everybody thinks, when you’re 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place. –Winston Churchill

As I wonder about these oddities, I have to question my own actions. How many times have I been out running and stood a little taller or ran a little faster because I thought someone might be watching? I should be running for myself and for my own fitness. Why do I care what others may think? I am not running for them.

Let philosophy scrape off your own faults, rather than be a way to rail against the faults of others. –Seneca

What is my motivation for studying philosophy? When I study the virtuous life, who am I studying for? Of course, I want to share with others all the fabulous lessons I am learning. But at the end of the day, I study the virtues so that I may become more virtuous.

As I increase in my learning, the temptation is to judge others who are marching to a different tune. What difference does it make to me? They are accountable to themselves, and I to myself. I should willingly help them if they wish, but I should not judge them. The study of philosophy is for me to grow and improve as a human. It is not for me to flex my intellectual muscles in front of all those who come near me. Chances are, they are not even watching.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s