Adam Smith

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life

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The impartial spectator is the voice inside our head that reminds us that pure self-interest is grotesque and that thinking of others is honorable and noble—the voice that reminds us that if we harm others in order to benefit ourselves, we will be resented, disliked, and unloved by anyone who is looking on impartially. If we are only for ourselves, it’s not a pretty sight

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If you want to get better at what you do, if you want to get better at this thing called life, you have to pay attention. When you pay attention, you can remember what really matters, what is real and enduring, versus what is false and fleeting. Thinking of an impartial spectator can help you know yourself and help you become a better boss, a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend. Thinking of an impartial spectator can help you interact with actual, real-life spectators and change how they think of you. That’s nice, but Smith argues that it’s more than a pleasant side benefit that comes from paying attention to how your behavior is perceived. It can actually lead to serenity, tranquility, and happiness