Esse Quam Videri: To be, rather than to seem

Esse Quam Videri: To be, rather than to seem

I saw this sign today while waiting for a meeting and wondered what our N.C. State motto means, “Esse Quam Videri”.  It means, “to be rather than to seem.”

As I researched I came across a great article by someone named Alastair Humphries and all I can say is “ouch” to a few areas and “atta girl” to others! Read on: 

Esse Quam Videri…To be, rather than to seem…

According to Alastair Humprhies,

An admirable yet difficult motto from Cicero. Exactly the sort of thing you would expect to find on the sledging pennant designed for Birdie Bowers’ trek to the South Pole with Captain Scott (pic above).

It’s a pithy little phrase, and it’s also a good opportunity for me to turn the mirror on myself.

Are you a runner? But do you actually run? Often and hard and fast? Or do you just trot round the park a couple of times a week at an identical pace to years ago?

Are you a cyclist? But do you actually put in the miles? Or do you just own a nice bike or three?

Are you a photographer? When was the last time you went out specifically to take photographs, with thought and imagination, learned new techniques and got the most out of your expensive camera?

Are you writing a book? Are you actually writing, regularly and with ruthless effort? Or are you just a dilettante who enjoys talking the talk but isn’t prepared to sit down and grind out a book?

Are you doing what you love with your life? Is it fun, fulfilling and worthwhile? Or are you merely dabbling with all these important things, whilst drowning in excuses, mediocrity and procrastination?

These are the questions I ask myself. What questions should you ask yourself? Perhaps…

Are you on a diet? Are you actually eating less, running more? Or are you kidding yourself, sneaking calories, and ambling along a treadmill for a few minutes at the gym?

Are you saving, planning and preparing to leave a job you hate for something that you love and care about? Or are you just paying lip service to the dream whilst frittering cash and frittering time?

I don’t know you and I don’t know what side of these lines you are on.

But these questions, or ones similar to these, are ones that might be worth you asking yourself.

Don’t shirk the uncomfortable question.

Don’t kid yourself with your answer.

I fear that too often I am on the wrong side of my lines. But I try at least to be sufficiently honest with myself to acknowledge this. And then I try to work hard to get back on track.


Last night I was bitten by a Cougar!

Last night I was bitten by a Cougar!