In this post, I shall be outlining events in my personal life that have happened, thoughts I have had and how I apply stoic principles and teachings to them. I hope you enjoy my reflections and check back for more.
"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart" - Marcus Aurelius
I think this quote really encapsulates how the last week or so has been for me. I am not a perfect human being nor a perfect stoic - I never have been, never will be, never have I claimed to be and I can only hope that I never make that claim - I just strive to be the best I can be at all I do that is within my control. I've been foolish, I freely admit it, and perhaps a little rash. Still, good things have come of it, I am unharmed, this is a learning experience and a blessing of fate.
Last week I reflected on the virtue of patience, embracing new beginnings and of accepting your fate. Every day I try and live by the four cardinal virtues - wisdom, justice, courage and moderation - but from these virtues others flow, such as patience. I try to be patient with others, but like I say I am an imperfect person and I claim no mastery of this, although I seek it despite knowing that such a labour is ultimately futile.
"Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself" - Marcus Aurelius
So here we are one week later. I of all people, being stoically minded and an INTJ personality type should appreciate the need for time to reflect, consider and think. Embracing solitude is within my nature and a normal pattern of behaviour for me, and there is always plenty to consider. So, why then should it surprise me when others do the same? This is arrogance, and needs working on.
So, what happened? Well, the girl I like and I'm interested in appears go be interested in me too, and it seems I was too hasty in thinking this chapter closed. It's rare I let people in deeply to see the nature of my soul, and I feel I am getting there one step at a time with her.
Either way, I shall try to meditate on all outcomes and remain rational. Whether she's already gone or I lose her in 50 years time, at some point the inevitable kwill happen - the nature of everything is change. a man possessed. But I can't deny, to feel her touch my soul is exhilarating, and it is testing my stoic cool. To know someone who embodies so many virtues - wisdom, justice, fortitude, courage, fidelity, loyalty, honesty and humility namely - is to touch the divine.
Either way, I shall try to meditate on all outcomes and remain rational. Whether she's already gone or I lose her in 50 years time, at some point the inevitable will happen - the nature of everything is change.
However my fate materialises, one thing is always clear - I shall embrace it - and the need to practice moderation will remain paramount. After all, she's not just the sum of the qualities I admire, and I'd be lying if I said I thought she wasn't breathtakingly beautiful.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
Without the possibility of failure, then there is no such thing as success, and courage must also be practiced as often as possible. The investor in me always manages risk - although tilting risk on is the way I like to live, even in my romantic life, and it does feel like the right time to heed the call to adventure.
Hopefully this time around my patience will stick with me, it could be a long ride. As long as the end destination is worthwhile then I am happy to make that journey. Win or lose, or rather, win or learn - it will be a positive experience.
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil." - Marcus Aurelius
So this last week has seen me net another pay bump, and while I wont disclose how much it is I will say that I consider it sufficient, and we have also earned a performance related bonus. Other employees have also shared in these benefits.
Personally as I've said I find his agreeable. Of course with the insane inflation that is being seen generally throughout the western world due to the money printer working overtime, their hand was semi-forced if they didn't want an exodus of talent, but I'm grateful nonetheless. From the faces of some of my colleagues though, you'd have thought the company had just slapped their mothers. Many talented people in many industries haven't received pay rises above inflation, but this is seemingly lost on them, as is the concept of the company's risk creating the reward. Funnily enough, one of my friends told me that a pay increase can be taken as a net negative, and this seems to be the case at my workplace. Don't allow yourself to be poisoned with bitterness or envy, you will only hurt yourself in the end, and forgive those who are. Ultimately we never know what is going on in people's lives, they could have a sick child, rent overdue, sickness themselves or any manner of things happening in their private lives that they are ill equipped to deal with. Be patient, but don't allow them to poison you or damage your mindset. Be the rock against which the wave breaks and allow their negativity to wash off you.
“Everything that happens is either endurable or not. If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining. If it’s unendurable… then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well. Just remember: you can endure anything your mind can make endurable, by treating it as in your interest to do so." - Marcus Aurelius
This quote sums up how I try to live my life in the day to day. Complaining just wastes energy that could be used to either a solution to the problems you are facing or be used towards finding the exit, and poisons your mindset.
Complaining accomplishes nothing, and just seems to drive people away - myself included. I can listen to the first moan, I understand people's need to vent from time to time although I try to avoid it myself. But then let's talk goals and solutions, because I despise the same dull conversation time and again without making progress towards an end result. Life is short, stop wasting time. If you're always complaining, then you shouldn't be surprised when you are always unhappy whereas a positive mindset will erase most of life's problems before they even begin.
Some wont accept that for the most part the situations that they find themselves in are a direct consequence of their actions. You're underpaid? Stop letting yourself be taken advantage of, be assertive. Associate with those who want the best for you. We live in an age where if you take the time you can learn any skill off Youtube or the internet in general in months, You're overweight? Take care of your eating and exercise. Your job sucks? Find a new one on your lunch break or start a business plan. You feel stupid? Pick up a book instead of watching endless Netflix. We are the sum of our habits and actions. The only person that can make a person change is themselves. You've got to want growth and have to take action. Some wont accept that for the most part (although some exceptions are real) that the situations they find themselves in are a direct consequence of their actions. If you want to change your life, the world or anything else then the best place to start is with yourself. Stop complaining, start doing.
Remember, life is generally good, If you've got a roof over your head, food in your belly and a couple of decent friends then you're doing pretty well. Add a loving family and I'd call that a massive win. A couple of hundred years ago this was near unthinkable, we are lucky to be alive in this time period. 100,000 people pull themselves out of absolute poverty ever day, this is an age of miracles.
I'd recommend to practice gratitude. You'll feel better for it. I wake up every day and try to remain thankful for another day above ground where I can strive to be a better man, I can love the people I do with all my heart, I get the chance to learn something and I get to roll the dice of life another time.
If you hang around 5 confident people, you will be the 6th one. If you hang around 5 intelligent people, you will be the 6th one. If you hang around 5 millionaires, you will be the 6th one. If you hang around 5 negative people, you will be the 6th one. - Unknown author
I have encountered this quote several times before. Surround yourself with people of quality, even if they are few. We are a product of our environment to a large degree so make sure you immerse yourself in the best environments and make the most of it - don't be afraid to cut toxic people out of your life. For growth, for personal development - for yourself - it is necessary. If you've known them 20 years or 20 minutes, bad actors are still bad actors, don't enable them or allow them to enable your own poor behaviour. Waste no time worrying about what others may think of you for it, Worry is a wasted emotion that achieves nothing anyway, better to live in the present moment and experience it for what it is, and as Seneca said we suffer more in our own imagination than in reality. Probability is they're not even thinking of you anyway, so it is really not worth losing any sleep over. Nobody knows you quite like yourself either, don't expect them to understand the nuances of your own mindset or the solidity of your moral code. That said, if someone who does know you questions your actions or motives then it is sometimes time to pause and reflect, after all we are all wrong from time to time and nobody is perfect.