Don’t Expect ApplausePosted: July 27, 2011
From Pirke Avot 1:3 (translation by Rabbi Rami Shapiro):
Antigonus of Sokho received the Teaching from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say:
Live without hesitation.
Dwell not on outcome or reward.
Act with full attention.
The 59th and final “slogan” of Atisha – a revered Buddhist teacher from present-day Bangladesh (980-1052 CE):
Don’t expect applause.
Commentary by Acharya Judy Lief, writing in Tricycle Magazine:
Another problem with the hunt for approval is that it to gain approval you must buy in to the dominant values of the society around you. If what gets approval is getting rich, that is what you strive for; if it is beauty, that is what you obsess about; if it is power over others, that is what you focus on. The desperation for outer rewards goes hand-in-hand with an increasing sense of inner poverty. If you are successful in your quest for recognition, you may be able to ignore what you have given up to achieve it. If you are unsuccessful, you may simply blame the system. But in either case, since you have given over our power to others, you are left empty.
When you notice you are expecting applause, explore what lies behind that expectation. Notice the subtle shift between when you have done something and when you begin to look around you for recognition.