• Copied!
  • Copied!

Ideas not to worry about:

“I’ll live without recognition, and be nobody.” If obscurity is evil, you can’t be left in obscurity by someone else, any more than you can be involved in anything disgraceful by someone else. Is it your business to get a powerful job, or to be invited to dinner parties? No way. So how does lacking these things add up to being nobody? Your job is to be somebody in exactly those areas that you can control – and there you can become as great a person as you want.

“But I won’t be able to assist my friends.” What kind of assistance? Do you mean you won’t be able to give them money or get them political favors? Who told you that things like that are under our control? How can you give anyone things that you don’t have yourself? They want you to make money, so they can share in your prosperity. If they can tell you how to make money, and still be modest and honest and principled, let them tell you, and go to it. But if they want you to give up what’s really yours and worth having, to chase after what’s not worth having, they are obviously unfair and uncaring of your interest. Besides, which are they better off having, money or an honest friend? Better they should help you develop your character than ask you to do things that endanger it.

“But the public interest will suffer from the lack of my attention.” Here again, what kind attention is involved? You won’t be endowing an animal hospital, or pressuring your Congressman on some burning issue? What does that mean? The community doesn’t get shoes from a lawyer; the army doesn’t get bullets from a farmer. It’s enough if everyone does his own work well, and if you’re providing nothing more than one honest citizen, you’re making a contribution. Your own growth is in the public interest.

“What position should I hold, then?” Any position you can, as long as you can also hold your honesty and modesty. But if your desire to be useful costs you those, what good can you possibly be to the community?

Continue reading