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Rather learn from people than criticise them

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • February 3, 2017

Zeno, the founder of stoicism, once overheard a man disparaging another philosopher to a crowd of listeners.

Zeno walked up to the man and asked him whether he’d learnt anything from the man he was criticising.

The man said, “Of course not, his ideas were terrible.”

Zeno replied, “You cannot criticise a man until you have learnt everything you can from him. It is only when you know him that you can know his flaws.”

The moral of the story is to refrain from criticising others. Rather try and learn everything you can.

If afterwards you are still critical, then go ahead and elaborate.

Most of the time you’ll find yourself much more understanding.

In any case, life is too short to spend dissing other people.

If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.