You’re right, it is disappointing.
It would be so much easier if it was just a little more simple.
But it’s not.
Last night at dinner my 4th grade daughter was poking fun at her 5 year old sister. She wasn’t trying to be mean. She was simply stating facts that made her feel superior, with complete disregard for anyone’s emotions.
Her justification? She wasn’t “being mean, just honest.”
That’s when it happened. The part where I interjected a dissertation on stoic philosophy, including a repeat-after-me segment teaching the pronunciation of Epictetus.
Yes, although she was “just being honest,” that doesn’t make it right. The stoics believed that no virtue is a virtue by itself. They are all intertwined and must be practiced and experienced together.
In that vein, honesty without compassion is actually cruelty. And compassion without honesty is manipulation.
You can find these symbiotic relationships between traits everywhere. They are true in athletics. Strength without accuracy will not result in a made snatch. And accuracy without strength will also lead to unsuccessful attempts.
Yes, we all need to know where we are weak so we can improve. No, that does not translate to ignoring progress in other areas.
Your homework: Where are your blind spots? In which areas are you over-indexing, causing fault elsewhere?
If you can’t figure it out, go buy The Art Of Living and start practicing the pronunciation of Epictetus.