Prove your words by your deeds – Seneca
We’ve all heard the phrase “walk the walk don’t just talk the talk.” Well, I’m assuming everyone’s heard that phrase. It really resonates with me because that’s how I run my day to day life. I’ve never wanted to be that guy that just does a bunch of talking and never actually follows through. What’s really amazing is Seneca promoted the same idea. Prove your words with your deeds is just like walking the walk.
Have you ever met someone (or maybe your are that someone) who likes to have big plans; plans that are so big they may never actually happen? We all have trepidation about the ‘what ifs’ and the fear of what could come of our actions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the biggest offender in this thought process. The difference for me, however, is that not many people, if any, get to hear my plans. I am more inclined to keep my ideas to myself. I’m sure you’re wondering why I tend to withhold my thoughts. I keep them to myself in case they never come to fruition, and thus I cannot be accused of having not executed and exhausted my energies. See how that works? It’s like a magic trick, if I don’t tell anyone my plans and they don’t work out, what’s the difference? It removes the fear. The point of this post is that I wanted to prove a point that we all have a tendency to talk the talk and then not walk the walk. We’ve all been there where we preach on about a certain subject but we never practice what we preach.
His life should not be out of harmony with his words and that further, his inner life should be one hue and not be out of harmony with his activities. – Seneca
Ah, there it is. It’s hard to put it into better words than that. That’s exactly what I was just talking about. We have many different levels to practicing what we preach. We have the external talk and walk and then we have the internal talk. Let’s be honest with each other. Well, really why don’t we be honest with ourselves. It’s just you and me. What’s the one thing that you have always wanted to do but never done it? Is it a trip around the world? Is it to purge the world of hate? Throwing a fundraiser for your favorite charity? What is that grand plan that you always tell yourself if the situation was perfect I could do… Why haven’t you done it? Most likely it’s fear and we all know how groundless fears can affect us. This is more about one thing you probably haven’t done with those grand plans. That’s right. You know what I’m going to say. Don’t worry, I know the answer because it’s something I try to do. I actually tell people about my plans. That way they become real. Like I said at the beginning of this post, for me, just telling someone my grand plans makes it real and then I have to follow through with it.
That might be too grand of an example because let’s be honest, we need things to go perfectly and in a perfect environment to happen. So let’s try to apply that quote to everyday life. Let’s use an example that’s close to my heart. As a trainer, people choose to tell us things that they will not even tell their spouses. These moments are the real and raw emotions of our clients. These are the moments that their inner dialogue is becoming external. That’s great, right? That’s exactly what we’re going for. That’s when life changing behaviors can start. Did you see what I did there? I said can start. When people are having those moments where their true emotions and feelings are pouring out, that’s just the start. That might be the first time they have ever vocalized those feelings out loud. Don’t get me wrong, just saying these inner emotions can be difficult, but unfortunately that’s not the hard part. The hard part is having your actions in harmony with those inner emotions. That’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s where the “lifestyle change” starts. Yes, that sounds kind of like therapy, but we’re not therapists, we just get to see people in their most raw moments. Now it’s your turn. Is your inner dialogue in harmony with your activities? If not, then keep working on it. That’s all you can do. If yes, then great job! I’m not sure if I believe you though because in my life there are only a few people who actually exhibit this harmony. Either way here’s your homework.
Pick a single norm to live by and you should regulate your whole life according to this norm. – Seneca
That is what I’ll end this post with. Have you ever thought about living your life by a single norm? A standard that you hold yourself to? It took me a while to figure out what exactly this meant. Mine could be something like, “be nice, it’s easier” or “treat others how you would like to be treated”. What’s your norm that you would like to live by? That’s the key,you might not have it just yet, but that’s where the work begins. Remember, this is a norm that will always be your ground level. This is your default setting that tells you how to conduct every aspect of your life. This is the setting that is in harmony with your inner dialogue and your external actions. Now go find a better you. The best you.
A few other quotes I’m pondering from letter #20:
Deeds and words should be in accord
What is wisdom? Always desiring the same things and always refusing the same things.
Believe me, your words will be more imposing if you sleep on a cot and wear rags.
In that case, you will not merely be saying them but you will be demonstrating your truth.
To reserve a few days a week that prepares you for real poverty by means of fancied poverty.
Let it be remembered that nature has prescribed very little for us. No man is born rich. Everyman when he first sees light is commanded to be content with milk and rags. Such is our beginning. And yet kingdoms are all too small for us.