Roman Emperior, Author Meditations
TODAY’S HISTORY HERO
Marcus Aurelius, he was a philosopher and the last good legendary Roman Emperor before its decline – he ruled from 161 to 180 AD, and developed a reputation for being the ideal wise leader Plato termed the “philosopher king.”
President Bill Clinton has said is one of his favorite books.
Wisdom true value and takeaways that we can apply to our everyday business, family, and life starting now.
As far as we know, Aurelius wrote these ideas down for himself and had no intention of having it published. In a way, Meditations offers an inside look at the mind of the man who was both governing the Roman empire and struggling with the same issues that you and I do on a daily basis.
It is so applicable with rich advice on day-to-day stuff. Making it as relevant today as it was almost 2000 years ago.
Think about how powerful this man was – At the time he was alive in fact he was the most powerful man on earth, and he still took the time to sit down each day to write himself notes about restraint, compassion, and humility. What he left unknowingly for all of us today is a guide for living with purpose and the practical application of his true values. It is not merely some intellectual enterprise but a great tool that we can use to become better entrepreneurs, better family members and better people in life.
We are going to look at a series of quotes and lessons from the famous Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius. brilliant life philosophies, interesting insights on difficult questions, and practical strategies for dealing with the challenges that we all face along the path of life.
He had his own life challenges faced with constant fighting, the rebellion of his general Cassius, the deaths of his wife and close friend, and the realization that his son Commodus was destined to be a bad ruler.
He dealt with these hardships by turning to philosophy, specifically the Stoicism of the ancient Greeks and his contemporary Roman philosophers.
Lessons learned practical application so get started from business owners family members and how to live life – are numerous
When he arose in the morning he said, – “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …”
Meditations chronicles both his strengths and weaknesses – It is perhaps one of the earliest diaries known and shows us today the Importance of keeping a diary both in written form and in audio.
On life: “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.”
Entrepreneurship and the ideas and concepts are written thousands of years ago by (Stoicism) Can Make You A Better Entrepreneur
The philosophical school of Stoicism – it’s an operating system – for teaching you how to thrive in high-stress environments
I have been keeping journals since law school and it helped me by getting my thoughts down
But Instead of a written diary, this new concept of an audio diary is interesting and appealing to me – more on that in a later newsletter.
on self-confidence “When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.”
On finding blame or fault on others he instructs “Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”
So if your still not convinced how these writings are so impactful or why Every Entrepreneur Should Read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Check out what he says about thinking of the future “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
On this same topic, he also said “When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.”
Meditations — consists of just under 200 pages and it consists of his most personal thoughts and life philosophies. Although it might not have many pages, it might take longer to go through because its so powerful
You just want to start writing things down as you learn so much in this diary
For example, he says that The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”
Strength from within not without – we call that spirit “Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always looks.”
When it comes to business ideas, how to be, and act, personal philosophy on life, advice on being a reality with the universal practical application
being a man and leader, dealing with difficult angry people, work, and duty. As you read each paragraph you really stop to think about all its implications, pondering his words and motivated to use the priceless advice to live a better, more fulfilled life.
On lowering your expectations dealing with others throughout your day he comments: “Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.”
Next, to the lessons in the Bible, I would say this book or diary provides us so much guidance on how to live, lead and treat others. But Meditations is not a religious book.
You want to improve in business, family, and life then you run to listen to this book. You can pick up the audio for your free one month trial by going to mitchellchadrow.com/audible
As mentioned in this From getting up in the morning to preparing for your legacy, Meditations is the A to Z on living a full life.
On opinions of others -” I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.”
Why was he the most beloved emperor in the history of the Roman Empire? He ruled for 19 years; and unlike the majority of emperors who came before and after him, Aurelius was deemed and incorruptible leader.
He fought off several threats to the Roman Empire during his reign and believed life’s purpose revolved around service, duty and respecting the nature of the universe.
He had total control over the empire yet never once used that privilege for his personal gain. Despite being the most powerful man in the world, he remained balanced – stern when needed, but always understanding of others, even his enemies.
He could have had the best of wines, food, and companions in the empire during his years as a leader (which is what most emperors did), but he abstained from such temptations. He believed such discipline was required of a leader. He explains how one must deal with temptations in life, and that anything which does not make you a better man must be avoided.
Who really knows but maybe he really didn’t want to be emperor you get the impression that during his leadership he was lonely balancing between what was the right thing to do for the empire and what was right for the nature of the universe.
He wrote in his diary but he didn’t do it because he thought it would ever be published.
This diary was written mostly when the Roman Emperor was at war defending itself.
No one knew about the diary while he was alive it was a secret and only discovered after his passing
What an awesome valuable piece of literature. This amazing work was initially published in Greek, the language in which Aurelius wrote it. Since then it has been published in several languages and is deemed to be one of the best pieces of Stoic literature in history.
So what are the lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from Marcus Aurelius’ ‘Meditations’?
On focus – make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. But make sure you guard against the other kind of confusion. People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time even when hard at work.
So what are the circumstances of Marcus’ life along with the dismal failure of his son?
Personally, there might always be a reason for you not to start, you’ve been planning, thinking but either haven’t or need to take that business to the next level to start doing.
Professionally sometimes you have to do an about-face exit what you’re currently doing and move in a new direction.
On things out of your control – “You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.”
Sure you want to be precise and have a genuine seriousness.
Wants you to decide that you’re all in to start or grow your business, then do it with seriousness. Put all your efforts to it with focus, precision, don’t bandy around. Work toward tasks and goals with care and earnest attention.
Is passion good sure but it’s the nuts and bolts the everyday stuff that is needed to be done cared for as well as about enjoying it loving it?
Some aspects of entrepreneurship you might not enjoy but still, try to love what you do, as much as you can. Maybe you will like 60 percent but that’s reality. You can always delegate as you scale.
“It is not the actions of others which trouble us (for those actions are controlled by their governing part), but rather it is our own judgments. Therefore remove those judgments and resolve to let go of your anger, and it will already be gone. How do you let go? By realizing that such actions are not shameful to you.”
On change: “Observe always that everything is the result of the change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and make new ones like them.”
Show your expertise with no pretension.
Quiet confidence and knowledge
“If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one’s own self-deception and ignorance.”
He teaches us that you must change your approach based on what you’re facing. Sure it has to be partly based on experience, knowing what approach to take, based on the situation. So you must either get more experience or get more training. Above all else be flexible.
More on happiness: “Unhappy am I because this has happened to me.- Not so, but happy am I, though this has happened to me because I continue free from pain, neither crushed by the present nor fearing the future.”
See new opportunities in obstacles. Be prepared to change your plans to accommodate new info. Never petrify. Always keep moving.
too much optimism v doubting myself too early, – aim for simple, clear reality.
To many focus on past and future on the present he said: “Do not disturb yourself by picturing your life as a whole; do not assemble in your mind the many and varied troubles which have come to you in the past and will come again in the future, but ask yourself with regard to every present difficulty: ‘What is there in this that is unbearable and beyond endurance?’ You would be ashamed to confess it! And then remind yourself that it is not the future or what has passed that afflicts you, but always the present and the power of this is much diminished if you take it in isolation and call your mind to task if it thinks that it cannot stand up to it when taken on its own.”
Stoics view a situation with neutrality. They would say an event in itself cannot be good or bad, it’s only an event. But to me you still you’ll have to decide whether you’ll see something as a threat or an opportunity
So how did he stay in control of his emotions based on his beliefs that nature unfolds in a perfect way and that one must accept that they cannot change the past or what other people feel in their hearts?
One key point he writes about is how to recover from massive setbacks.
Here are some of the philosopher king’s timeless lessons on how to be resilient:
Don’t worry about people whose actions don’t affect the common good.
Your energy and time are both limited, so don’t waste them on what inconsequential people are doing, thinking, and saying when you could be focusing on your own issues.
On Living in the present – Marcus writes
“Each of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see,”
Refrain from imposing your feelings onto reality.
. . . none of these are “bad” (or “good” for that matter), according to Marcus’ philosophy. When you see things as what they really are, you’re able to avoid succumbing to your emotions and accept what has happened.
Turn an obstacle into an opportunity.
Which is a Stoic fundamental, which says that we should use inevitable challenges as a chance to become a stronger person?
A good definition of a Stoic, someone who “transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.”
Find peace within yourself.
Marcus writes that people try to retreat from their problems and responsibilities by going somewhere in the mountains or the beach, but that travel isn’t necessary to recollect yourself. He advocates a kind of brief meditation, where you withdraw into yourself and quiet your mind.
Don’t resent people for their character.
If someone’s character flaw has caused one of your problems, do not exert energy trying to change that person’s character. Let things go. “You might as well resent a fig tree for secreting juice,” Marcus says.
You are the only person responsible for your happiness.
“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts”
“Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been,” Marcus writes. Furthermore, the only way people can truly harm you is if they change your character.
He is like a kindred spirit.
Goal or task don’t sweep away your thoughts that come into your mind – just observe.
He is so upfront and honest it’s like he is saying to us – I am a fellow human being trying to make sense of the trials and tribulations of life. It’s like he is down the earth saying it just so happens I came into this role as “Emperor,” but that seemed to matter little to the turmoil in his brain and the yearning in his heart.
It seems, he was just also trying to figure it all out, just like the rest of us. And if one of the most revered leaders of the civilized world was trying to figure it all out almost 2000 years back in his day, then maybe together our community here collectively is doing alright.
Takeaways – don’t hesitate to set a new path or new trial because you’re thinking your not entirely sure you can pull it off or because you think you lack the skills, know-how, connections, money, and certainly the confidence we feel like we need to get started. Thus so many never risk starting. Or we give up when things get rough. Or take too long. Especially if the things we hope to do — start a business, move into a new industry, spearhead a movement we care about, reinvent ourselves, build a new career or life from scratch — is something we’ve never, ever done before.
So what separates those, like Marcus who pursue worthy projects and grow enormous empires, from those that do not?
Surely, they must have all their stuff together and “all figured out” before they even get started?
Here’s a secret: they didn’t.
And here’s another: they still don’t.
In my own story from Attorney, Banker Fiduciary Professional to Entrepreneur or whatever else I happen to be doing at the moment.
Far and away the most powerful moments happen when I, someone who tends to look like a bundle of American confidence — all sorted, all figured out, all found, all put together — admit that inside I need to change or go in a new direction . . questioning whether you are the best you or if you have anything useful to add to a situation?
I am figuring a lot out, but still, in several ways, I’m still putting it all together. Still developing. Still growing. Still becoming.
Discovery comes with my own vulnerability, my own humanness, my own reality. A reality that is potentially universal.
I’m still, and possibly will always be, figuring this out.
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