Diogenes was a slave early in his life. The story goes that when he was on the auction block he pointed to his future owner in the crowd and said “Sell me to that man. He needs a master.” He did get sold to that man and went on to become a well known bad boy philosopher in Athens.
The reason I chose this quote though is not about real slaves and owners, it’s about how to master those traits that enslave you. You can hope to get rid of a trait or a habit, and that is best in many cases such as cigarettes and alcohol. But if we are honest with ourselves we are not going to get rid of all our traits and habits, even the bad ones. We are going to live with them. The key is figuring out how to master them and bend them away from negativity and destruction.
Let’s talk eating for example. You can’t not eat. You can’t take it out of your life. You have no option but to let it control you, or you control it. If you were a slave (to the master named food) and you wanted to actually become the master of that master how would you go about it? Would you do as Diogenes did and announce to the world that you were going to be the master? Or would you be more subtle and slowly, but with strong intent, design the life of that master in such a way that you controlled everything he did, everywhere he went, everyone he saw.
Think of it that way and perhaps it will give you a new perspective. And here is the best part. Your master, be it food or something else, is actually pretty dumb. It will allow you to take control of it if you have the will to do so. It’s not up to food, it’s up to you.
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily
Quote by Diogenes, 404 BCE – 323 BCE, Greek philosopher. Famous for the story where he went looking for one honest man in Athens and couldn’t find one, even with a lamp in broad daylight. Thanks to one of my favorite quote book authors for this info. James Geary, author of ‘Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists’.