When you’re doing well they’ll send a car for you, or cover your incidentals charges at the hotel. They’ll overnight your packages or give you an assistant. They’ll remember your name and your preferences. You won’t even ask and you’ll find that your tickets are first class, and that someone is always apologizing, “So sorry you had to wait sir.” “We didn’t mean to inconvenience you.” “Can we get you anything in the meantime?”
The small perks are nice and easy to take for granted, take as the new baseline. The Stoics, who experienced power and wealth, remind us not to do this. Because they also experienced how fickle Fortune was, how she, as Seneca put it, seems to always do what she pleases (and reversals seem to be a favored move).
The Stoic forces themselves not to get used to the small perks or the trappings of power. Premeditatio malorum. They practice in their mind the very real possibility that this might all go away and they remind themselves that the free coffee or the travel upgrade doesn’t say anything about them as person. It only says something about the temporary station they happen to hold. Remember: Seneca was exiled. Epictetus was exiled. Marcus was nearly overthrown.
Things happens. Perks disappear.
Are you ready for that?