It’s not who you are, it’s what you do

Every so often, we may fall into the trap of wishing people could see inside our minds. See what we truly think but can’t express, what we’d like to do but haven’t put the hours into just yet. We wish they could see all of our yet unfulfilled dreams, aspirations, all the good we’re yet to do for the world.

Every so often, after one interaction or another—be it with customers, friends, or even dates—I’d leave feeling a little disappointed. I thought maybe, if the person had seen what was going through my mind, it would have been different. If they knew how my day or week had been, they’d have understood why I didn’t put my best foot forward. Or maybe if they had just seen what I thought about saying but didn’t say. Yes, I know how self centered and irrational that thought is.

I, you, and anyone else could list a bunch of things we are, things we aspire to be, how we see ourselves and the world. The truth of the matter, though, is it doesn’t matter.

Our aspirations, thoughts and even past accomplishments are, for a passerby, nonexistent.

What matters is what we do, what matters is transforming those grandiose ideas into actions and matter, and doing that now. People can only see what you do the moment you’re with them. Only if you’re lucky will you get the chance to see them again, and you can make your own luck, but only as long as you put your best foot forward.

On this website I’ve written a lot. Words upon words upon words. Many of them applicable. And yet time and time again, I realize that I’m not walking the talk.

It takes time for a thought to become an action, for that action to become a habit, and for that habit to become second nature. Be it applying practical philosophy to our lives, camaraderie, discipline, fair treatment of those around us, or even (and we’re going meta now) acting more than you talk.

And it’s because of those thoughts that I haven’t written in a long time. How could I speak so much, but do so little? How could I preach without living the way I claimed to be “better?”

I confess I often take extreme measures when the center route could have been the best option. I may have overreacted in stopping my talks (or rather my writings) completely until I started acting. And I confess I haven’t acted everything I wished I had

But I’m doing more. More today than I did yesterday, and more yet to come tomorrow. Ultimately, that’s what it’s about.

Our worth in the world is based not on who we are, but on what we do. Unless we bring value to people in one way or another, it doesn’t matter how pure, nice, or ambitious we are on the inside. If we don’t transpose our thoughts and ideals into palpable actions and work, our time on this Earth was in vain.

Or, as Marcus Aurelius put in a simple sentence, “to stop talking about what a good man is, and just be one.”

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