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Marcus Aurelius Meditations

Today's blog is going to be a little bit different. I just finished reading Marcus Aurelius' Meditations so what I am going to do is write all the passages I highlighted and reflect on why I highlighted them and give my thoughts. Today will have books 1-6 and the next blog will have books 7-12. I hope these give you some wisdom as they did for me.

When speaking about his adopted father Marcus said “Unwavering adherence to decisions, once he’d reached them. Indifference to superficial honors. Hard work. Persistence.

For myself, the thing that stood out here was the unwavering adherence to decisions. I often tend to question decisions even though I do not make them out of desperation, but they are carefully thought out before I make them. I want to trust my instincts more. I just made a very big decision recently, so this spoke to me.

“Do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable.”

As I embark on my entrepreneurial journey having just left a job, I devoted 6 years of my life to it is hard not to let emotions be a big part of that. But my mind was telling me that it was time to leave and take a chance on myself. I had to look past the emotions and take aim at what I wanted.

“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

A big powerful statement to put things into perspective. None of us are guaranteed anything but this moment right now. Take advantage of every minute you have left. If there is something, you have been wanting to say to someone. Say it. If there is something, you have been wanting to do. Do it. If not you may never get the chance to.

“Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people. It will keep you from doing anything useful.”

This is something that held me back for many years. I wanted to do something or say something but was too scared of what other people would think of me. How many opportunities did I miss by worrying about other people? Now I am putting my thoughts out there for the world to see without the fear of other people's opinions.

“Not to live as if you had endless years ahead of you. Death overshadows you. While you’re alive and able be good.”

How many times have all of us said we are going to start something tomorrow. What is another day right? We can make that apology tomorrow, we can start that diet tomorrow, and take on that project tomorrow. Stop waiting for tomorrow.

“It's unfortunate this has happened. No. Fortunately, this has happened, and I’ve remained unharmed by it-not shattered by the present or frightened of the future.

I think this ties into letting our emotions run on trivial things we consider unfortunate. A blown tire for example. We see this as unfortunate when it is fortunate that we are not harmed by it. This can help shift your mindset to being thankful for your health and happiness and not stressing minor inconveniences.

“If an action or utterance is appropriate, then it’s appropriate for you. Don’t be put off by other people’s comments and criticism. If it is right to say or do it, then it’s the right thing for you to do or say.”

For me, this goes back to being convicted in your decisions. Both your words and actions. Don’t make rash decisions but when the decision is well thought out know you did the right thing.

“So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their characters and actions are not mine.”

When someone does something to me, I can often dwell on it long after they have moved passed it. You are only hurting yourself in this scenario. Instead, I should move past it and let them deal with the consequences of their actions.

“Treat human beings as they deserve, be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.”

Focus on the actions and emotions you can control which are yours. Hold yourself to a higher standard and have empathy when others fall short.

“Two characteristics shared by gods and men:


  1. Not to let others hold you back


2. Locate the goodness in thinking and doing the right thing, and limit your desires to that.”


1. This can be a hard thing as we get so emotionally invested in our relationships that it is sometimes hard to see that someone is holding us back. Consciously analyzing this can be a good thing as it can set the relationship on the right path or end it.

2. Most of us have a pretty good sense of right and wrong but are still tempted by the wrong. At least I am especially when it comes to things that seem “harmless” it is not harmless. It harms your character so you cannot give in to temptation.

“True good fortune is what you make for yourself. Good fortune: good character, good intentions, and good actions.”

Good fortune is not getting lucky. Good fortune is in your control if you have good character, good intentions, and good actions. If you control these things you will be fortunate.

“It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.”

If you cannot be honest with yourself, you cannot grow. The truth may hurt a fragile ego but you need to drop your ego to become better.

“Disgraceful: for the soul to give up when the body is still going strong.”

I think we have all had points in life where we are ready to give up. Maybe you have given up and are just going through the motions in life. Try and find the courage to pick yourself up and keep going.

That wraps up books 1-6 I will cover 7-12 next time.

-Justin


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