Here’s the thing: you’re here, reading this blog, looking for a few nuggets of wisdom to apply to your own entrepreneurial journey. You do this a lot. And you take information from a range of characters. Some are famous, some powerful, some have decades of experience to back up their words. But I guarantee you, you’ve never read a blog by someone with complete, autonomous control over the known world.
That kind of person doesn’t exist anymore. And if they did, they would be to busy ruling their empire to write a blog. Which is a shame, because learning what goes on in the minds of world leaders would be incredibly valuable. Wouldn’t you like to know how empires are ruled, kingdoms managed, populations controlled? Wouldn’t you like to listen to the internal conversations leaders have with themselves every day?
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Aurelius used to own the world. Back when the Roman Empire dominated a staggering percentage of available land mass, Aurelius was at the head. He fought wars, studied philosophy, watched over his kingdom, and watched even more carefully over himself. And lucky for you— he wrote his musings on life in a journal.
Learning about stoicism (the philosophy central to this book) I realized that without knowing it, I’ve actually been living a pretty stoic life. In fact, I can see a lot of my reactions to life obstacles as having a stoic nature to them. This, I believe, is what’s helped me push through a lot of these circumstances and come out on top both in business and life in general. This is also why I feel this book — and stoicism in general — could be massively beneficial to you in your own struggle.
Where Stoicism Helps
Aurelius covers a lot of practical, actionable advice in his book. The book, after all, is really a list of reminders to himself. Reminders to keep a cool head, to remain true to himself, to detach himself from external events. He covers a lot of ground in the book’s pages, but here’s some of my favorite takeaways:
- Aurelius constantly reinforces the power of separating your emotions from the environment around you. This helps you to keep a cool, rational head, and to make decisions without overreaction.
- Speaking about pain, Aurelius reminds himself (and you) that often we can’t control pain or the causes of it. What we can control is our reaction to it. This is huge, and reading this I was reminded of my own approach to guilt and loss— acceptance.
- Acceptance plays another role in Aurelius’ interactions with difficult people. Essentially, the idea boils down to ‘evil people do evil; good do good.’ Expecting an evil person to do good sets you up for disappointment, you’re expecting someone to act against their nature. In business, this can be disastrous. Don’t expect an unreliable vendor to follow through when the stakes are high, don’t put shy employees in charge of your next big pitch.
There’s a lot more in the book than the three themes above. What I love, is how naturally his thoughts apply to business and active living (living life as opposed to letting life live you).
While I appreciate you coming here and learning from me, I wholly recommend you take a few hours to learn from Aurelius. Again, this man used to own the “civilized” world. His humility, self-accountability, and reasoned approach to difficulty is inspiring. Pick up the book, learn a little about stoicism, and let me know what you think in the comments below. If you’ve already read through the book, tell me how it influenced your own life.
P.S. There are a lot of translations of the book, but I would recommend this version. A lot of the other ones are written in hard to understand old english.
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