Meditations 7.67:

“Nature did not blend things so inextricably that you can’t draw your own boundaries—place your own well-being in your own hands. It’s quite possible to be a good man without anyone realizing it. Remember that.”

It’s quite possible to be a good man without anyone realizing it.

What if your character was so strong, your virtue so impeccable, your goodness so subtle that you flew completely under the radar?

What if you were practically invisible, with no awards or glory or killer job offers or huge number of Twitter followers?

Be good, be honorable and virtuous and strong, not for any external reward or acclaim, but just for the virtue of the action itself. Don’t do this for that. Do this for this.

And don’t be discouraged or distracted from your focus on excellence if no one acknowledges you. This thought from Marcus is mirrored in this passage (chapter 17) from the Tao Te Ching:

“When the Master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists. Next best is a leader who is loved. Next, one who is feared. The worst is one who is despised. If you don’t trust the people, you make them untrustworthy. The Master doesn’t talk, he acts. When his work is done, the people say, ‘Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!'”

The Master doesn’t talk, he acts. When his work is done, the people say, “Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!”