“It is essential for you to remember that the attention you give to any action should be in due proportion to its worth, for then you won’t tire and give up, if you aren’t busying yourself with lesser things beyond what should be allowed.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 4.32b
MORE IDEAS FROM The Daily Stoic
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . .”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 2.5.4–5
“Of all people only those are at leisure who make time for philosophy, only they truly live. Not
satisfied to merely keep good watch over their own days, they annex every age to their own. All
the harvest of the past is added to their store. Only an ingrate would fail to see that these great
architects of venerable thoughts were born for us and have designed a way of life for us.”
Some of us are stressed. Others are overworked. Perhaps you’re struggling with the new responsibilities of parenthood. Or the chaos of a new venture. Or are you already successful and grappling with the duties of power or influence? Wrestling with an addiction? Deeply in love? Or moving from one flawed relationship to another? Are you approaching your golden years? Or enjoying the spoils of youth? Busy and active? Or bored out of your mind. Wisdom from the Stoics that can help.
Wherever a person can live, there one can also live well;
The Stoics remind us that there really is no such thing as an objectively good or bad occurrence. Situations require our participation, context and categorization in order to be "bad".
Our reaction is what actually decides whether harm has occurred. If we raise our voice because we feel we’re being confronted, naturally a confrontation will ensue.
But if we retain control of ourselves, we decide whether to label something good or bad.
Death doesn’t make life pointless, death makes life worth living. Sometimes the discussion about the meaning of life serves no purpose besides distracting you from the answer, which is found in front of you when you live your life.
When you wake up, pretend today is your last day and live life as you would in this circumstance. And don’t just think, do.
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