Rob Lowe and Marcus Aurelius

Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides – it’s another way of saying that there’s no upside to envy.

Rob Lowe

My wife, Shanna, shared this Rob Lowe quote with me recently. (Yes, that Rob Lowe, the “brat pack” actor you remember from the 80s and more recently of The West Wing TV series.)

That quote is a nice bit of wisdom. When she read it to me I responded that it reminded me of a line I had just read in Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations.

And Shanna laughed.

She’s got a great laugh. She thought it was funny that she was quoting a Hollywood celebrity, and I was quoting a second century philosopher-king. She’s amused by my eggheaded eccentricities.

We’re a good match, she and I.

It’s a nice reminder that wisdom doesn’t have to be ancient to be meaningful. Nor does it have to come from a sage. And really, everyone, regardless of education or station in life, has a bit of Yoda or Mr. Miyagi or Marcus Aurelius (or Rob Lowe) in them, a unique insight on life that could only come from living their life, from seeing the world through their eyes.

Be open to insight and wisdom from anyone. And don’t judge yourself or be discouraged in comparison to the person you perceive someone else to be. Trust Rob Lowe on this.

It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.

–Marcus Aurelius