“What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.”
Arrogant. A big talker. A know it all. Stuck up. These are just some of the synonyms used to describe someone who is acting conceited. Not very charming qualities right? Words that come to mind to describe them from when I have come across people that behaved like this is the past was annoying, over confident and self centered. But now that I am older and a little bit wiser I think that when I meet someone with those same qualities I think they may act this way as their own self defense mechanism as they are still trying to figure out who they really are and how they fit into this ever changing world.
When we are first born our life is like a blank canvas waiting to be painted upon. Each brushstroke represents each experience we encounter in our lives. And through each of these experiences we learn a little more about ourselves and who we are. Self awareness is where we create that accurate self perception, which includes our strengths and limitations.
Epictetus reminds us that if we are close minded to new experiences and project a sense of arrogance that we know everything it prevents us from growing and learning as an individual and how we accurately perceive ourselves in the world. We need to come to the realization that we will never know everything and to try and convey that we do to others is not only lying to them but worst yet it is lying to ourselves. It give us a false sense of who we are. Don’t try to live life as a fake. Live life as your authentic self. Do this and you will live a well grounded and fruitful life.
What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards improving your self awareness?