Marcus is back with his lessons on life and mindset! I know you have been waiting for it since the last post.My inbox is flooded (literally!) by the over-whelming response by the readers telling me how much they enjoyed learning about the ancient Stoic Philosophy, and putting it into practice.
I really wanted to hold the post and publish it after some time,but the constant request from the readers led me change my mind.I can feel you cannot contain the excitement anymore.So without further ado,let us delve right into the pool of knowledge of the great one.
•No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be good. Like gold or emerald or purple repeating to itself, “No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be emerald, my color undiminished.”
COMMENT:One must not be influenced by the circumstances around it.Just like Gold,which remains to be gold no matter where it is put.It continues to shine.Similarly,one must not lose his personality and attitude no matter where he is.
•Treat what you don’t have as nonexistent. Look at what you have, the things you value most, and think of how much you’d crave them if you didn’t have them. But be careful. Don’t feel such satisfaction that you start to overvalue them—that it would upset you to lose them.
COMMENT:In the above quotation,Marcus observes that it is necessary for a being to cultivate an attitude of gratitude towards life.
Constant covet for the things one doesn’t possess and blindness to one’s own property always leaves one dissatisfied.Therefore,it is extremely essential to be grateful for the things one owns.
Does that mean to become an ascetic?
I mean,greed and need are the emotions which always make a person crave more possessions and ultimately evolve,but one must also learn to be content with what he has.
•You can hold your breath until you turn blue, but they’ll still go on doing it.
COMMENT:In this quote,Marcus emphasizes on the futility of the attempts to change other people, rather than yourself.
Most people,in order to change others, end up harming themselves and their self-esteem to the extent where it is hard to retrieve.
It’s in the best interest of an individual to focus on, and correct his own course of action,instead of asking someone else to change their’s.Nothing will bring you more peace of mind than minding your own business.
People always do what they want and what they THINK is right,and frankly,you can’t do anything about it.You cannot change a person and you can NEVER change their mind about anything,unless and until they themselves want to change.
So let go of the need to alter somebody else and concentrate on changing your life for the better.
•Don’t be overheard complaining about life at court. Not even to yourself.
COMMENT:A person must strive to resist the temptation to curse or complain about anything,for it reflects his negative outlook towards life.
Complaining or whining about anything is a sign of weakness.Taking action to get rid of what is bugging you,is the actual strength.
When a person complains or hurls curses about his problems,even to himself, he is just vitiating his mind with undesirable thoughts, and even more importantly,wasting his time and energy which could otherwise be utilized in remedying the problem.
“A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills.”
-W. E. B. Du Bois
•Apply them constantly, to everything that happens: Physics.Ethics.Logic.
COMMENT:Pretty much self-explanatory.
•Remember: you shouldn’t be surprised that a fig tree produces figs, nor the world what it produces. A good doctor isn’t surprised when his patients have fevers, or a helmsman when the wind blows against him.
COMMENT:This quote is one of my all-time favorites.
A lot of people get upset and concerned when things go off the rail.This always bamboozles me because the way I (and Marcus) see it is that, in the long enough time line,things will always,inadvertently,get out of control no matter how good you are at micro-managing.
Do you get surprised when you see a mango plant producing mango or a bird flying?
No? Why not?
Because it’s expected of them.It’s the nature at work.
Similarly,you will only get upset and disappointed when you expect utopia.Don’t expect everything to be perfect.Life throws curve balls in the most unimaginable ways,which you can NEVER avoid but only deal with, when they do arise.
I’m a firm believer in the philosophy-“Anything that can go wrong,will (eventually) go wrong.“
If shit can hit the fan,don’t get surprised when one day,it really hits it.You won’t see it coming and you can’t escape it.Just learn to accept it and deal with the situation when it arrives.
•Everything is here for a purpose, from horses to vine shoots. What’s surprising about that? Even the sun will tell you, “I have a purpose,” and the other gods as well.
And why were you born? For pleasure? See if that answer will stand up to questioning.
COMMENT:In this quote Marcus stresses on the significance of finding one’s purpose, because he observes that everything that exists,has a purpose.
A plant’s purpose is to give out oxygen,and produce flowers and fruits;a bull’s purpose is to draft and plough;the sun’s purpose is to provide light and heat.
What is YOUR purpose then? Surely you aren’t born for nothing.
Finding one’s purpose and fulfilling it,fills one with maximum satisfaction and happiness.If you are not working on your purpose,you are rotting away.
•Either pain affects the body (which is the body’s problem) or it affects the soul. But the soul can choose not to be affected, preserving its own serenity, its own tranquillity.
All our decisions, urges, desires, aversions lie within. No evil can touch them.
COMMENT:The pain,of every nature,inflicts damage on a person either physically or emotionally.
The physical pain is to be tolerated and endured, for there is no way
to avoid or escape it.
But the person need not to feel emotionally agonized,for he can choose to be happy and remain unaffected by the harrowing and undesirable circumstances that occur.It is a decision of a mortal himself,to get either anxious or to remain calm.
All the evil that one observes in the outer world,are the reflections of one’s inner world.
Choose not to be affected by your emotions and watch destructive emotions lose their power over you.
•I have no right to do myself an injury. Have I ever injured anyone else if I could avoid it?
COMMENT:In the above quote,Marcus emphasizes on the significance of ‘self-love.‘
Most people when hear of Stoicism,immediately picture becoming completely devoid of emotions.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Stoicism offers different perspectives towards life and life circumstances,which ultimately results in unaffected and uncaring attitude.
One must learn to love himself.If he doesn’t have the guts to cause harm to others,he must not even think about harming himself.This doesn’t mean that he should become a narcissist (although I am one),but it does mean to see and treat yourself as you would treat your best friend.
Would you hurt your best friend?
•What humans experience is part of human experience.
The experience of the ox is part of the experience of oxen, as the vine’s is of the vine, and the stone’s what is proper to stones.
Nothing that can happen is unusual or unnatural, and there’s no sense in complaining. Nature does not make us endure the unendurable.
COMMENT:One of my most favorite quotes.
Any pain or anguish you feel, was not reserved for you.People before you have felt the same pain and distresses,and will feel same in the future.Nothing that happens to you is unendurable.It’s a part of the human existence-a part of being a normal human.
No.Your problems are not unique or “different“.
Your pain is not unbearable.
The emotional torments you feel are not something that especially happen to you.It happens to everyone.
Let go of the feeling that life is unfair to you.
Of course,it’s sorrowful that you’ve gone through hardships and really tough times,but even that is to be accepted.It’s hard, yes,but it is something that must be accepted and moved on from.
What is done is done.It’s time to move on.For real.
•The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out.
There are brambles in the path? Then go around them.
That’s all you need to know. Nothing more. Don’t demand to know “why such things exist.” Anyone who understands the world will laugh at you, just as a carpenter would if you seemed shocked at finding sawdust in his workshop, or a shoemaker at scraps of leather left over from work.
COMMENT:Had Marcus used simpler words,he would have put it something like this-Don’t bitch about your problems,just figure out a way to get rid of them.
A problem exists which needs to be exterminated.That’s it.You don’t have to know why your problems exist,they just do.That’s the way of the world.Life is a roller-coaster ride,not a smooth glide in the air.
What is the problem that you are facing in your life right now?
Write it down.
Just below your defined problem,write down the plan to eliminate it,once and for all,and take action to get rid of it.
This must be your course of action.No more and no less.
•You want praise from people who kick themselves every fifteen minutes, the approval of people who despise themselves.(Book:8)
COMMENT:This quote is profound!
It reveals two major problems of an average person-the need to get validated by others and;the tendency of people to derogate themselves.
One must learn to overcome both of these inherent dispositions in oneself.
You must learn to let go of the need to get validated by others.This is because others will only approve of you as long as your behavior is directed and controlled by them.As soon as they feel that they are losing power over you,they would try to regain that power by using tactics like emotional withdrawal, insults and mockery,induction of fear,and isolation and abandonment.
You must also learn to embrace yourself more. Criticizing yourself for the mistakes you do is not the way to grow.Taking corrective actions to not let those instances occur again,is the way you should approach your failures.
•Today I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions—not outside.
COMMENT:In the above quote Marcus,reiterates that everything which causes turbulence in you,begets within you.You can choose to either nurture or destroy it.
It is in your power to either entertain a thought or let go of it.
Mind,like a sword,is a tool which is immensely useful when worked skillfully,but also holds the potential to cause some serious harm to yourself if you don’t monitor it…and that’s no understatement.
James Allen,the author of the little but extraordinary book-‘As A Man Thinketh’, had similar views on thoughts:
“Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”
Yup.It’s all in the mind.
•Leave other people’s mistakes where they lie.
COMMENT:As already commented on,the path to solving other people’s mistakes,ends up to the station of nowhere, and you will ALWAYS end up asking yourself-“How the fuck did I reach here?“
Let other people find their own way.You are doing them a disservice if you are holding their hand and showing them the way out of their mistakes without them asking for your help.They will resent you for the constant interference of you in their lives.You think it’s an act of nobility that you are helping them.
Newsflash!You are not.
They are not imbecile and must learn to solve their problems all by themselves.If they need help,they will ask for it.
And by the way,you want to avoid any and every person who gets into serious troubles often.By serious troubles,I mean problems such as financial crisis,poor relationships,and constant drama.I would never associate myself with a person who is neck deep buried into his own turd and can’t figure out a way to save his ass.
•To stop talking about what the good man is like, and just be one.
COMMENT:Talking about the qualities of a man is not noble.Being one is.Anybody can spit a bunch of sermon about literally anything.Taking ones own advice and being the person you preach is the mark of a real person.
Stop defining a good person.Become one.
Because everybody loves bonus..!
Someone despises me.That’s their problem.
Mine: not to do or say anything despicable.
Someone hates me. Their problem.
Mine: to be patient and cheerful with everyone, including them. Ready to show them their mistake. Not spitefully, or to show off my own self-control, but in an honest, upright way.
Because nobody gets enough of bonus these days..!
Practice even what seems impossible.
The left hand is useless at almost everything, for lack of practice. But it guides the reins better than the right. From practice.
I just threw you two extra quotes from the book.What I want you to do is meditate upon them yourself.Think about them for half an hour or so.They sure might look trivial and superficial but,as you shall see they really make a lot of sense once you properly digest them instead of letting them pass by.
These lessons are not meant for entertainment.
It’s a philosophy.A way of life.
Come back to these after a few days, and you will notice that they make so much more sense than they initially did.That is the beauty of this wisdom.The more experience you gain from life,the more you learn that the above mentioned are not just quotes,but something deeper and more meaningful.
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Until Next Time Guys…