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STOIC POETRY | A job well done

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

October 11, 2019

Dear Eric,

I think we all desire to do well. And by this I mean to not just get by, but to complete our work to the level of satisfaction of a job well done. Only, so often we can't see or remember this aim for the distraction and folly of intemperate living. We get lost along a meandering pathway of unworthy answered emotions; feelings which we hear and hastily hearken to like breadcrumbs carelessly followed into a dark wood; followed and consumed one-by-one until we look up, disoriented and confused, suddenly wanting the safe home we can no longer see, and striking out recklessly in the first direction our panicked mind suggests. It's then when we fail to do well. It's then when we suffer the consequence of our folly in not minding the way; of not looking carefully at the next breadcrumb before us before taking another measured step into the weeds, of not asking ourselves after the worth of such an endeavor, of not providing oversight of our want to consume and to possess and to satisfy the base desire to have.

I did not wake today to simply act and re-act But to do well the things which are well And to mind the things which are not

When I assess the next breadcrumb as worthwhile; only then will I attend, engage and possibly possess or even consume the object of my determined will. But not without first lifting my head to look ahead at where I am going, not without noting where my next steps may take me, and looking back at where I've just been and considering where I wish to be overall. And if the breadcrumb is shrouded in shadows such that I cannot clearly know where these new steps will lead, then I will engage reason to reflect upon the merit and risk of such a venture - what good or bad may come of going into the dark after such a thing? And if my ruling faculty does then sanction the journey, I may next need to attend my fears, which perhaps plead with me to cower behind current secure ways: "Please, don't go! Don't bring us with you... We'd rather remain here. That thing you perceive in the darkness there - let someone else attend to it. Stay here with us. Stay - or think - just what we now know, and what is now safe, the reassuring certainty of our current certitude." I'll listen to my fears. And I'll give us an honest hearing. But then I'll turn and go - and drag the fearful me along into the dark should the better me decide the darkness a better place to go, and the place where all of me can best do our necessary work. All of me is going into the dark, for good or bad, and for the sake of right.


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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