Today, I want to reflect on the reality that everyone, from our allies to our enemies, are watching our actions and judging if we uphold the principles we espouse.
What are your values?
Humans are the only known species capable of reason. This reason enables us to formulate values and ideas that go beyond the basics of self-preservation. We can reflect on and understand complex abstractions such as virtue, morality, and magnanimity.
By reflecting on virtues and morality, each individual can decide what standards and values they wish to uphold. The upholding of our personal values requires following a set of behaviors. These behaviors, whether learning a skill, pursuing an impressive life goal, or controlling our emotions, should elevate us and lead to self-improvement.
By pursuing virtue, we will attract enemies and allies. People will watch our actions, judge our decisions, and compare our behaviors to the ideals we claim to support. For example, if an individual espouses a belief in generosity, his critics and allies will comment on whether or not he is kind with his time and resources.
Allies are determined to ensure you uphold your lofty standards and will support you if you fall. Critics will wait with bated breath and quickly jump with joy when you fail.
Both groups are always watching, and this is worth keeping in mind when going about the day.
Your allies are watching
Loyalty is about helping and supporting the people who promote and encourage you. We should always be loyal to the virtuous, never the manipulative or the sinful. Loyalty to vice is no virtue at all – it is a bastardization of nobility.
We should seek people who wish to understand our deeply held values. Through this understanding, our allies should ensure our behaviors and actions are consistently aligned with our deeply held values.
For example, if I value persistence, then my close friend should regularly check if I am going to the gym. If I have slipped in my regular visits, then my friend will encourage me to return and remind me that I should stay the course even when feeling lazy or tired.
It’s important to allow your friends to study your actions. Give them regular updates and confide any flaws that you may be struggling with. Allies can help in providing the support and encouragement needed to keep you going.
Loyalty is about direct communication and honesty. Never give allies a comforting lie – they deserve the truth so they can fully understand you and your path to greatness.
Lastly, allies tied to you will be judged by what you do or fail to do. It’s crucial to ensure that their reputation stays pure by being an honest person yourself.
Your enemies are watching
We all have enemies if we stand for something. Enemies come from everywhere and will directly or indirectly oppose your values, actions, and life.
You Can Never Satisfy Your Enemies
If you support individualism, people will oppose you. They will call you selfish, crude, evil, and unconcerned with others. These arguments and insults are as old as time and originate from the desire to control the lives and actions of individuals. It’s important to ignore such petty drivel.
The collective will always judge you based on values that it holds. These values do not have to be your values. For example, because of my race (which is an unchosen reality of my existence, thus has no moral value in my eyes), I am expected to uphold certain racial values adopted by the collective. I reject these values and refuse to support them. Because of this, I have frequently been criticized as well as called an “Uncle Tom” or “Oreo” for most of my life.
However, these critiques have no sting – I am not offended by the critiques nor do they drive me to change my behavior. I understand that this racial collective criticizes me for not blindly following their values – they don’t care about my wants or needs. They want me to join the collective instead of forging my own path because they wish to have power and influence over me. The collective hopes their biting remarks will demoralize me and drive me to give in to group-think.
Therefore, what is essential is to ensure you’re acting based on your principles. If you value certain virtues or ideals, you need to uphold them without fault.
Decide Your Fate
You never have to be generous, so baseless critiques that you are selfish can be safely ignored. However, if you claim to value generosity but you do not help others, then any evaluation of selfishness will have merit.
As individuals, we do not have to live based on the rules and guidelines set for us. We do not have to fall in line with stated group values. Do not fall prey to enemies who have no interest in your self-improvement.
However, always remember that your enemies are watching. Your personal enemies and the enemies of your values, wish to see you fail to follow virtue. They want you to lose so that they can enjoy your defeat. Do not give them the satisfaction. Understand your values, define your life, gain power over yourself, understand your goals, then pursue what you love with unshakable intensity.
Remember your enemies. They can serve as great inspiration when you’re ready to give up or sink into an addiction. However, remember that your enemies are disingenuous. They will criticize you no matter what you do.
Ignore the noise and succeed in accomplishing personal greatness.
- Who are your allies? Why are they your allies?
- What virtues do you struggle with the most? How can your allies help you uphold those virtues?
- Have you ever been criticized? Was the criticism justified? I.e., did it promote a positive change in your character?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.