Reflections on Aphorisms #102

Today was kind of a wash (not really; I got a lot of listening to audiobooks done), but I was just not feeling it.

Kind of a shame after such a long streak of being on top of my game to come crashing down, but on the other hand I think that it’s totally fine so long as it doesn’t become my norm. Nothing’s on fire, everything’s still good.

Tomorrow I will achieve the writing I did not achieve today.

Aphorism 142

When not prompted by vanity we say little. (Maxim 137)

François de La Rochefoucauld

Interpretation

One of the things that I’ve heard over and over throughout my life is the advice that everyone’s favorite topic is themselves.

I don’t know how true this is for me; part of me wants to look at how shy and generally opaque I like to be, but on the other hand I also wonder if that’s an image I’ve built of myself to hide how I tend to let myself dominate conversations when I can.

The challenge is that it’s very easy to forget how much of the world exists outside of us.

I think that it’s also difficult to recognize when our passions are nothing but our passions; they may not have an interest to anyone else.

For instance, I can go on and on about storytelling and game design. I’ve done it professionally, I’ve done it as an amateur, I’ve done it for years and years. If you ask me a question, I may or may not know the answer, but if you give me a topic I’ll be able to talk for a long time.

The problem is that generally these conversations will still be about me. Sure, I don’t come up in them, but there’s a temptation to be the star in my own show, and since I’m pouring out my brain it satisfies that desire to be known.

But the truth is that almost every time we speak we open ourselves up to self-aggrandizement.

The only solution to this is to make sure that we focus on other people when we talk.

Resolution

Focus on subjects outside myself.

Interact with others in a way that edifies them.

Don’t let self-importance dominate life.

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