Do you react or respond?

In the ring, our opponents can gouge us with their nails or butt us with their heads and leave a bruise, but we don’t denounce them for it or get upset with them or regard them from then on as violent types. We just keep an eye on then”

– Marcus Aurelius

As an innovator you are always challeging the status quo. Think about what it means to have a “disruptive” idea or business—something that promises to upend entire ways of thinking or doing things. It means you’re not just someone’s competition, you’re an existential threat. Why would anyone who faced obsolescence, then irrelevance, then oblivion, just accept that fate? Of course they’re going to put up roadblocks. Of course they’re going to resist and there is going to be conflict.

The important question is not if this is going to happen, at least according to the Stoics, it’s about how you’re going to respond to the challenge when it does. As Marcus Aurelius wrote: Our opponents are going to gouge us in the ring, they’re going to bruise us and butt us with their heads.

The question are you going to react or respond? Are we going to get angry and take it personally? Or are we going to keep our cool, take note of their tactics, and change our strategy so this cheating doesn’t prevent us from winning or catch us off guard?

Don’t let them make you angry, or bitter, or mean. It should not surprise any of us that people will protect the status quo if it’s better for their own position, nor should it stop us. Just keep going. Love it all. Forget what doesn’t matter. Ignore the wrongs and the slights. Ignore the cuts and the bruises. We’re the stronger ones. We can absorb it and use it and learn from it. 

The original article was posted at the daily stoic.

Stoic Innovator is based on the beautiful book Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.

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