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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I

KNOWING NORTH

February 29th, 2020

 

A good explorer can go pretty far by just knowing which way is north.  The quintessential navigational tool, the humble compass, points out north for us, something that a great explorer can figure out by just looking at the sky.

 

The lingo of navigation forms a metaphor that we use everywhere.  In what direction should I take my career?  How should we steer this company?

 

For each of these we might ask what the metaphorical true north is?  What’s the one most important marker to help us understand which way we are going?

 

At first it might seem as though each domain in life might have it’s own true north.  Business would maybe be profits, friends and dating might be love, something like that.  But all of these can converge on a single house of light.

 

There is one star that we can use to guide them all.

 

Nearly everything that we do in life aside from solitude for it’s own sake is undertaken in order to elicit a response from other people.  We show up to a job and do what we’re told because the response a week later is a paycheck.

 

There is one response central to nearly every interaction that we can strive for, one that permeates all domains and optimizes the direction that is most likely to lead to success.

 

 

The only question that you need to think about in order to guide your instincts is:

 

How do you get someone to genuinely say ‘thank you’?

 

If a product is truly great and one that people are thankful to have, they will gladly pay.

 

If a friend is grateful for your presence in their life, you will be loved.

 

But for so many things we look at it backwards, looking for what the payment will be before we provide our service or effort. 

 

Better to forget about it

 

and

 

Just give all you can to the world. 

 

What does it really matter if you get something in return?  Why care?  Thinking about the potential reward is like doing the dishes before you’ve even eaten.  That sort of thinking is backwards.

 

Just do and give what you can.

 

We are an animal that thrives on reciprocity. And great work, or amazing gifts that we might release upon the world?  These don’t go unrewarded.  Sure someone might try to snatch the credit, but if you can do it once, you can do it again, and again and again.

 

Squabbling over some little bit of coin isn’t just petty, it takes up time and energy that could be better  spent generating more generosity.


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Podcast Ep. 685: Knowing North

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