“We must ever tower high above dependence on human gratitude or we can do nothing really great, nothing truly noble. The expectation of gratitude is the alloy of an otherwise virtuous act. It ever dulls the edge of even our best actions. Most persons look at gratitude as a protective tariff on virtues. The man who is weakened in well-doing by the ingratitude of others, is serving God on a salary basis. He is a hired soldier, not a volunteer. He should be honest enough to see that he is working for a reward; like a child, he is being good for a bonus. He is really regarding his kindness and his other expressions of goodness as moral stock he is willing to hold only so long as they pay dividends.
There is in such living always a touch of the pose; it is waiting for the applause of the gallery. We must let the consciousness of doing right, of living up to our ideals, be our reward and stimulus, or life will become to us but a series of failures, sorrows and disappointments.” ~ William George Jordan
If there is one goal to which all could usefully orient it is this: mens sibi conscia recti (“a mind conscious of right”). Where this is the case, and where the heart is caught up unto all that is noble, generous and fine, you begin to work in concert with the principles and laws which govern the universe, rather than constantly struggling against them. You move with the creative impulses that animate and have the potential to coordinate all creative activity, rather than being battered by them.
He who possesses a mind conscious of right is unconcerned, but fully aware of how what he does is received by those around him. He refrains from judging his observations and reacting to his judgments, for he knows that reaction and judgment “dulls the edge of even [his] best actions.” He weighs carefully that which he observes and then carefully, meticulously adjusts his approach so that it has the best chance of overcoming the wall of ingratitude and of being received the next go around, if there is one.
When you possess a mind conscious of right and a pure heart, you are unconcerned with results, for you are at rest knowing that you have done your part. That said, you never forget that your fulfillment in living depends upon your ability to assist others to their fulfillment. Your fulfillment rarely comes from acting in a way that others get their “just desserts” or that they feel the full brunt of “what they had coming to them.” This may be a course of last resort, but typically speaking you find yourself absorbing the impact of the hammer as it drops on those within your field of responsibility.
Mens sibi conscia recti is the motto of those who seek to live an uncommon life. The consciousness of doing right will guide you in all matters, and you build that consciousness piece-by-piece, as you prove yourself capable of taking the high road in your conversations, in the little things you do that no one sees, as well as in the large matters that play out on the canvas of your life.
If you want to know where to start, take a moment to read one of my previous posts in addition to the current one each day. Note the central point that stands out to you. Write it down if that helps. Most importantly, prove its veracity in your living. If your life is like mine, there will be no shortage of opportunities to make a decision that will make a difference!