Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Is my soul a good ruler or a tyrant?
Another softball for me. I’ve never desired power in the traditional sense. The same goes for wealth as a goal in and of itself (sure, I’d love to have the money to travel the world, or to be able to take a job just because it feeds my soul, but money itself, just to be rich? Yikes, no.)
But there are petty tyrants as well–those who believe in their own indispensability, or who rule their small corner of the world like a tiny fishbowl. And by rule, I don’t necessarily mean in the traditional sense, but in the sense of wanting to be the person in control, pulling all the strings, responsible for dealing out praise or benefits.
That’s harder. I’ve never been a “my way or the highway” person, but the lure of wanting to be that person who everyone goes to, who everyone depends on, who always selflessly saves the day–well, that is a much stronger lure. It’s easier for someone in this kind of position to see themselves as selfless, making sacrifices, and so on, while in their hearts what’s motivating them is the desire to be seen as a good person. This kind of thing? This kind of questioning keeps me honest, because I know very well a younger me definitely wanted to be that person. I wanted and needed that recognition, and would sometimes shove others aside–nicely, of course–to get there.
I think I’ve grown out of that. Part of it is that I’ve realized that there is always real work involved in these positions, and if you take one for self-aggrandizement only, you’ll burn out very quickly. And people aren’t stupid. I’ve worked with enough people who are there to pad resumes to be able to spot them. Some of them are quite competent for sure, but they usually leave their team members vowing to never work with them again.
I don’t want to be that person. I want to be competent at the jobs I take, but I want to be known for someone who can pull a team together, not that person who (tries) to do everything themselves because they don’t think anyone else is competent.
And so, I remind myself of this often. It seems to work fairly well.
Watched a documentary today on abandoned Detroit. After watching a documentary last night on Chernobyl, which was short on the details but long on footage, I think the universe is reading my desire for ruin porn.
Tomorrow is my day off. I have a date with the Shostakovich 7th Symphony. In the face of warnings about new coronavirus variants, I really need the symbolism of this particular date in this particular siege. I’ll write about it tomorrow. And I’ll be looking forward to four days of sleeping a little later, working on projects, reading, the latest WandaVision episode, and maybe some good takeout food.