There’s no question that depressing things happen in this world. They always have and always will. People lie, cheat, steal. Envy, avarice, selfishness—it’s all out there. And it’s hard to miss.
It’s easy to despair about this. What do we do? Must it be this way? What’s the point of being good when everyone else is so bad?
This is the wrong way to think about it. It’s not up to us to change this unchangeable part of the human species, but instead to think about how to adapt to it, how to integrate it into our understanding of the world and not let it make us miserable.
That’s a big part of why I talk about ignoring what other people do – their lying, cheating and stealing – and focusing on what we do. On making sure that we hold ourselves to a higher standard and put our energy towards evaluating ourselves according to those standards rather than projecting it onto others.
My best advice on this today: instead of talking about other people’s selfishness and stupidity, our job is “to cycle/run/walk straight for the finish line, unswerving.”
To not be distracted by the darkness of others, to head towards the light. To be good without hesitation, even when other people are not. That’s our job.
Today and for our whole lives.
By Brian Nadon