Sloppy and Obnoxious

Listen to them with their chatter of far off places. Look at them with their luxury cars and expensive clothes. Always talking, talking, talking.

They’d like you to think they’ve got it all worked out, wouldn’t they? Just don’t look past the self-absorption, banality, and their deliberate little place at the center of attention.

Instead, think about what they are so often not: respectful or interesting. When Seneca writes that “slavery resides beneath marble and gold,” he leaves out the other attribute: stupidity. It makes you soft and sloppy and obnoxious. Don’t even get started whether they’re happy (actually do the math on the numbers these guys are throwing around)

We like to say with smug satisfaction “nobody lies on their deathbed and says, ‘I wish I’d worked more.’ Well, nobody really says “I’m SO glad I spent all that time skiing” either. Those things don’t matter either–they aren’t happiness or meaning. And in fact, they may be more dangerous because they feel like they do.

When we are young or inexperienced, we envy these people–or at least a part of us does. We unconsciously think we are supposed to be like them. The idea is to own a Rolex right? And be able to talk about what Abu-Dhabi is like, of course.

Or is it? What if the idea is to actually like yourself and the work you do enough that you don’t feel the subconscious desire to flitter around all the time. What if you don’t talk about yourself or (talk that much period) because you’re thinking about important things? What if the idea is to feel better in simple dress, to have no problem with a coach seat even if you could afford otherwise. The more I think about it, yeah, that’s the idea. That you may suffer less the less insufferable you are.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.