Let's Read Epictetus: Enchiridion #13

In another short chapter of just a few sentences Epictetus tells us that we cannot worry about what others think about us if we want to make progress. In particular we cannot worry if people think us ignorant or naive. And if someone seems to be impressed by us, then we shouldn't really believe it. We cannot expect to keep ourselves in line with Nature, focused wholly on what we can control, and at the same time in line with things external to us. 

This isn't a call to just not care about about what others think. This is a call for us to decide what is important and valuable to us. Is virtue what is truly important to us? Do we believe that our only true possessions are our actions? Do we want to be free? Do we understand that freedom is in having what we desire, so that we should only worry about what we can control? 

If virtue is what is truly important to us, then we simply can't worry if people think us ignorant when we are unconcerned with the things of this world. People will not understand when you don't join in the rat race, or when you don't seek to maximize worldly pleasures. Why should you care? You cannot control others. Focus on making progress.