Stewards of Power

You might not believe you have any power, but we all have some. Some have the power to influence millions. Others may only have influence in their own homes. All have the power to control their own selves.

Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power. –Seneca

 

giphy

If you cannot properly control the power you do have, why would having more power be of any benefit? Be a good steward of that which you are given and who knows, you may be worthy of wielding more in the future.

Jesus told a parable about the good steward (Luke 12:42-48). The steward is basically the master’s household manager. The master goes away and the good manager does what the boss wants him to do: take care of the business as if the master was there himself. This household manager is your dream supervisor. The one you want to work for.

The same parable talks about the unjust steward. That’s the joker whose subordinates all despise. He’s the supervisor we usually get stuck with, when we are in an organization with a disengaged leader. He abuses the power he has and the employees, the customers, and the reputation of the company all suffer. The bright side is that karma eventually gets these bad stewards.

The measure of man is what he does with power. –Plato

We are all stewards of the power we have been given. What we do with it is up to us. Good stewards of their power will find that more will be given to them. And the unjust stewards? In time, they will get what is coming to them. It sucks when they are over us, but we have to be patient. We can’t control what others do with their power, we can only control what we do with the power that has been given to us.

Practice Truth

Justice 12/18/2019

When I first started reading philosophy in High School, I didn’t really know what it was. I thought it was the ramblings of a bunch of old men content to sit around in their robes and tell others how to think. And even though I didn’t understand any of it, I was intrigued. I didn’t know much back then, but at least I could try to think.

By reading philosophy I only gained a little knowledge. I could try to spout off some of the things I learned, but none of it was applied knowledge. I could only tell you what someone else thought. To some small degree I was embodying Thoreau’s words: “There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.” I was only scratching the surface and putting none of it into practice.

A few years ago, I took a deeper look into stoicism. Reading the writings of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus, I was challenged to do more than only read. I was challenged to live this philosophy. I had to learn to practice what I was reading. I had to test the principles and see if they really worked. I had to go back and analyze my own performance and see where it went wrong. Was it the philosophy that was bad or was it my application? Finally, I had to validate whether or not this was something I could adhere to as a lifelong practice. If it wasn’t feasible to do throughout a lifetime, I didn’t want any part of it.

Philosophy is the science of truth. –Aristotle

How does this relate to justice? A just person seeks righteousness. He longs to discover the truth and then to put that truth into practice. It is a high virtue to do the right thing. Not only for others and for society, but for the individual. We must all find our own truths. Others can guide us along the way, but we must be critical thinkers in our education and then put it into practice. Discard what doesn’t work and hold dear to the ones that do. Be righteous, my friends.

Be Harder on Yourself

Justice 11/20/2019

I’ve been told by some that I am too hard on myself. Most likely that is true. I am hard on myself, because I know I am can be better today than I was yesterday. The best way I know how to do that is to mercilessly critique what I do or don’t do and then try to course correct from there.

There could be a worse alternative. Somebody else could be harder on me than I am. In my mind, that means I am not caring enough or unable to see my flaws. I appreciate constructive criticism. It is an opportunity to get better. But if I am honest, I would rather identify my own problems before someone else does.

What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism. –G.K. Chesterton

I have to be honest with myself when I look in the mirror. Is there something there that I can improve, such as a little extra midsection padding? At the end of the day, I need to do the same thing in my journal. What have I done? What could I do better? There is a key element to this whole self-critical process. I can only look at the things that are in my control. Being critical about the things that are out of my control will do me no good. I can only control what I can control. Everything else is not even worth worrying about.

There is a rightness* to analyzing one’s self and making improvements based on that analysis. But when somebody says that I am too hard on myself, this is an issue I can resolve as well. I can monitor the comments I say about myself. I don’t have to share with the world my own self-criticism. Instead, I can make a note of it and then do the necessary work to correct it.

*The only time I read fiction is at night before going to bed. Currently, this is Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. The main character Valentine Michael Smith groks (understands) something’s rightness or wrongness and acts according to that perception. It is a good lesson for us to consider. Can we have an unbiased opinion of whether something is right or wrong and act accordingly?

Be Not Deceived

Justice 11/13/2019

A car is a miraculous machine consisting of thousands of intricate parts. If the car is to perform at an optimum level, those parts have to work together. To get it to go, you have to put in the fuel source it requires. Put something else in there and sooner or later, your car will break down.

Your body is built in a similar fashion. Millions of parts working together to make sure you can get where you are going. What does your body need? It needs a natural fuel source. If you put something in it that it was not designed to handle, it will eventually break down and not run at its optimal levels. You may be able to adapt to various, non-natural foods. Some people may be able to respond better than others. But once you identify what works and consume it, your body will be able achieve and maintain peak performance.

There are times we tell ourselves that the fuel we consume is the premium high octane stuff when it really isn’t. It is not the natural foods are bodies have adapted to, but rather it is a low grade version packaged to mimic the real stuff. It might even smell and taste like it, but it is not the same. The nutrients are different. You may tell yourself, “No, no, it’s the same, but your body knows the difference. The fake stuff will never be able to replace the real food. Your natural body was not designed to handle the synthetic. If you keep putting garbage in the tank, your engine might just break down.

Nature never deceives us; it is we who deceive ourselves. –Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I am not promoting what types of food you should eat. Some run on gas, others on diesel. Heck, some people might be able to get by on a blend. But if we tell ourselves that the synthetic is just as good as the natural, we are deceiving ourselves. If we deceive ourselves long enough, our bodies will suffer the effects.

And it is not just in food that we tend to deceive ourselves. We allow outside influences to change the filters through which we view the world. We allow our own biases and beliefs to change our perception of what is real and what is not. We must remove the scales from our eyes and see nature for what it really is and not for what we want it to be. We must learn to see truth.

In the Pleasure Zone

Justice 11/6/2019

Okay, so the title may have you thinking of something else. And though the epicureans had some really great insights, I tend to lean toward more of a stoic mindset.

A goal I have in mind for my son is to help him pursue the things he loves. Whether it is in sports, art, or intellectual pursuits, I want him to go after the things he enjoys. My hope is that he finds joy in pursuing healthy endeavors that will benefit his life down the road.

When he is told to do something he doesn’t want to do, he will get mopey and resist doing it at all costs. But if he chooses of his own freewill to do the exact same thing, he will have no problem with it and complete it quickly and to the best of his abilities. This probably rings true for most children. Just maybe, it even rings true for most adults.

Did you ever notice that the projects you want to work on get done at a higher level than the ones you don’t want to do? You can get into the zone doing the projects you love. The time spent on them doesn’t matter. You can work harder and longer and not even a grudge while doing it. You take pleasure in the work and the results show.

The opposite is true as well. The projects you don’t want to do tend to get pushed back. The level of motivation to complete them is lacking and the quality of the work isn’t quite up to the best of standards.

It would be nice if we only did the jobs we loved. Unfortunately there are times we have no choice but to do them. The only thing we can do is control our attitudes. We can find a way to take pleasure in the work we are doing, knowing that it is a reflection of our character. We can motivate ourselves to get into the zone and complete the work at a quality we know we are capable of producing.

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. -Aristotle

Attitude Adjustment, Character Correction

Justice 10/23/2019

I was asked for help on a project, and I didn’t have a good attitude about it. I had something else I wanted to do and didn’t want to burn daylight assisting in another area.

It is easy to correct my son when he gets a poor attitude. It is easy to call anybody else out on this when I see it. But if somebody would have called me out here, I would have denied it and been wrong for it. In truth, my attitude needed an adjustment.

Continuing on in this manner, I doubt the person would ask for my help in the future. That would hurt, because I want to be called on when needed. But what I was doing was not helping my credibility. Would I want someone else’s help who would only give it grudgingly? Not a chance.

Having a poor attitude is direct reflection on my character. I believe I have a strong work ethic, but nobody is going to want that kind of negative baggage even with positive results. I know I wouldn’t. I would rather just do it myself.

So today, I am going to reflect on my attitude and how it impacts my character. If I am serious about being a positive role model for not only my son but for those I come into contact with, I am going to monitor this in the future and make the necessary adjustments.

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character. –Albert Einstein

Meditate on the Good

Justice 5/1/2019

The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large. -Confucius

There is so much truth in these words from Confucius. When my mind is right, so is everything else.

It is easy with the news. You see that horrific clip and can’t get the image out of your mind. It is followed up with more horrors: tragedy, scandals, and corruption. It shapes your outlook while dampening your spirits. Meditate upon these thoughts and your mind will darken your viewpoint of the world.

Seneca said, “Virtue alone raises us above hopes, fears, and chances.” If you meditate on these thoughts, you will see the world brighten around you. You can hone your wisdom, become more disciplined, and have greater courage. You can live a righteous life filled with faith, hope, and charity. You could be the example for others to follow thereby improving the world around you. It begins with the thoughts in your mind.

The Virtue of Justice

What does it mean to live a just life? If right thoughts and right actions equal righteousness, can we be righteous? Our hope is that others treat us with justice. This of course is no guarantee, but it does not change our responsibilities. It is our responsibility to be honest in our deeds and in our words, and that we treat others with justice.

_____________________

Enter your email to subscribe to notifications from this site

Justice 2/27/2019

Truth is the cry of all, but the game of a few. -George Berkeley

Spectator or Participant? Play the Game.

____________________

The Virtue of Justice

What does it mean to live a just life? If right thoughts and right actions equal righteousness, can we be righteous? Our hope is that others treat us with justice. This of course is no guarantee, but it does not change our responsibilities. It is our responsibility to be honest in our deeds and in our words, and that we treat others with justice.

_____________________

Enter your email to subscribe to notifications from this site

Justice 2/20/2019

A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality. -Winston Churchill

It is time that we all step up to the plate.

____________________

The Virtue of Justice

What does it mean to live a just life? If right thoughts and right actions equal righteousness, can we be righteous? Our hope is that others treat us with justice. This of course is no guarantee, but it does not change our responsibilities. It is our responsibility to be honest in our deeds and in our words, and that we treat others with justice.

_____________________

Enter your email to subscribe to notifications from this site

Justice 2/13/2019

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. -Mother Theresa

As mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, “You are only entitled to the action, but not the fruit.”

____________________

The Virtue of Justice

What does it mean to live a just life? If right thoughts and right actions equal righteousness, can we be righteous? Our hope is that others treat us with justice. This of course is no guarantee, but it does not change our responsibilities. It is our responsibility to be honest in our deeds and in our words, and that we treat others with justice.

_____________________

Enter your email to subscribe to notifications from this site