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Watch This Every Day – Leadership Principles – 9 Stoic Rules For A Better Life


9 Stoic Rules For A Better Life

Wisdom of Marcus Aurelius

Philosopher King – Emperor of Rome

    • During a plague / pandemic that killed millions of people, everyone felt like it can’t possibly get better.  What does Marcus Aurelius  do?  He walks through the imperial palace and begins to mark things for sale.  For two months he sells on the lawn of the great emperor’s palace.   Jewels, robes, couches.   He’s sending a message saying “I’m not going to put myself first.  I don’t need these fancy things.  Not when people are struggling. I’m gonna do the little things that make a difference.   This is like the CEO who takes a paycut in a bad economy.  The athlete who renogotiates their contract so the team can bring on new people.  This is the leader who sacrifices and struggles who puts the people first not their own comfort and needs.  That is what true GREATNESS looks like.  Literally the opposite of what corporate and political leaders are doing in 2022 in America.   What they did in 2010.  Bailed out the corrupt and greedy banks and corporations who risked the well being of others for their own gain.  The opposite of what heroes and GREAT leaders do.
    • You’re not stuck.   One path is closed but another remains open.
    • The impediment to action advances action.  What stands in the way becomes the way.
    • When you are stopped in one capacity there remains other capacities open to you.
    • We don’t control what happened we control how we respond.
    • Someone gets in your way. Someone blocks you.  They can’t stop you from being patient.  They can’t stop you from practicing forgiveness.  They can’t stop you from going in a different direction, changing your mind, trying something new, growing because of it, learning because of it.
    • Stoics say that noone prevents us from accomodating, adapting, changing, integrating the experiences, the obstacles that are in our path and turning them into new paths.   That’s what “the obstacle is the way” is.   It’s impossible to get stuck because we always retain our ability to choose and change.
    • Do it today.  Don’t put it off.
    • Marcus Aurelius says “”you could be good today instead you choose tomorrow”
    • We know how to do it but we don’t do it.  We don’t take the steps
    • Discipline of action – action not words
    • Take the first step.  Noone can stop you from that.
    • “I escaped anxiety.  No actually I discarded it because it was within me.” – Marcus Aurelius
    • Anxiety is not caused by things in your life it is caused by you.
    • Marcus Aurelius makes himself get up early.  He said “were you made to sit here under the covers and keep warm or were you meant to go do the work of a human being?”.   First thing he probably did was to sit down with his journal.  Meditations survives to us because it’s the private thoughts of the most powerful man in the world.
    • Get to work on the most important task of the day.   “Concentrate like a Roman.  Do this as if it’s the last thing you’re doing in your life.” – Marcus Aurelius
    • Start your day with a morning routine that lets you own the day from the beginning.
    • It’s called self-discipline – learning, study, self improvement
    • “Tolerant with others.  Strict with yourself.” – Marcus Aurelius
    • The purpose of all this is to make you a better master of yourself.  It’s not to make you condescending or patronizing or controlling of other people.  It’s called self discipline for a reason.  Leave everyone else and their mistakes and their way of doing things to them.
    • Marcus Aurelius didn’t like people.  You can’t read Meditations and not see this.  He opens Mediations with how frustrating and obnoxious other people are.  And even this idea of “The Obstacle Is The Way” that quote is him talking about other people about how people get in our way about how people present obstacles.   But he says that in that obstacle there’s an opportunity to actually practice this philosophy that you say you believe.   To be good in spite of other people.  To be just in the face of injustice.  To be temperate in the face of intemperance that’s being rewarded.     To be courageous when everyone else is being cowardly and being rewarded for it.
    • For the Stoics people are frustrating.  People are an obstacle but like all obstacles they are also the way.  That’s a challenge we can rise to meet.  We can be better for wrestling with other people’s difficulties.
    • Don’t resent people.  Use them to become better.
    • How much of what we’re busy with actually matters?
    • Marcus Aurelius says “Ask yourself with everything you do and say is this essential?” because most of what we do and say is not essential.
    • Most of what we do is because people asked us to do it or people told us to do it or that’s how we’ve always done it.
    • Do we actually need to do it if we found out we were dying tomorrow?  Would we keep doing it?  Would we do it the way we’re doing it?
    • When you ask yourself “is this essential” you eliminate so much of what you don’t need to be doing.
    • You get the double benefit of now doing fewer things better.
    • Ask this of EVERYTHING you do and say and think
    1. Amor Fati – it didn’t happen to you it happened for you.  Fate chose this for you.  Accept it. Embrace it.  Bear it.  Make something of it.
      • Marcus Aurelius says “A fire turns everything into fuel and brightness.”
    2. It’s about what you do for other people.
      • Marcus Aurelius says “the fruit of this life is good character and acts for the common good.”
      • The Stoics weren’t studyng this philosophy to be better sociopaths to make more money for their own sake, to be more famous.   It was about what they do for other people.
      • Do you contribute to your community?  To your country?
      • Are you moving the ball forward for humanity?
    3. Memento Mori – Latin for “remember that you have to die”
      • This puts the other two in perspective.
      • You could leave this life right now.  Let that determine what you do and say and think.   Life is short.
      • Do everything as if it was the thought or action of a dying person, Marcus says.
      • Life is fragile.  The pandemic has reminded us of this.
      • Live while you can.  Seize the day.

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We'll All Be Dead Soon. Do Something Great.

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