Introduction of Marcus Aurelius’ Work
I’m going to make you a promise: This will be the most fun you’ve ever had studying philosophy. It’s no wonder that Marcus Aurelius’ Work is one of the most popular thinkers in history, with his beautiful writing style and wisdom that feels just as relevant today as it did two thousand years ago. And while there are plenty of great books out there about the Roman emperor’s life, many focus on his military accomplishments and political legacy rather than his actual thoughts on life. So here are some quotes from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations (and other works) that will help you live a better life today!
How much longer are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself and in no account never to hold your manhood cheap in its craving for the best?
How much longer are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself and no account never to hold your manhood cheap in its craving for the best?
You keep saying that you want peace of mind and yet when you see a chance of taking an interest, even if it is only an intellectual one, how ready are you not only to rush into action but also very often neglect other things which should be done instead?
Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.
Marcus Aurelius’ work The Meditations is a collection of personal reflections and philosophies on living a virtuous life. It’s also one of the most widely read books in history, which makes sense given its timeless message: live your life in accordance with nature.
One thing that stands out about Marcus Aurelius’ work is his use of examples from his own life to illustrate his teachings. As such, it’s easy for anyone who reads The Meditations to see themselves reflected in these writings and know that they’re not alone in their experiences—and that if they want to change, they can do it too.
To help you become more like your Roman hero and better understand how he lived his values every day, here are some examples from The Meditations:
Wipe out your own faults before trying to conceal them in others
If you find yourself trying to conceal your own faults by blaming others, then it’s time to stop.
Don’t blame others for your mistakes and don’t try to hide them in the first place. It’s not really worth making excuses for something that happened because of your own poor judgment or decision-making skills in the first place—and, at any rate, nobody really cares about those things anyway! At least, not once they’ve happened (and especially not after somebody has told them). If you want people around you to respect how maturely and responsibly you deal with whatever comes your way in life (or even at work), then just admit when things go wrong and don’t beat around the bush with any unnecessary excuses or finger-pointing.
You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
Be content with what nature gifts and gives, and treat it as an ally, not an enemy; make it your friend and comrade.
You don’t need to be a Stoic to know the value of accepting what you can’t change. However, Marcus Aurelius was one of the first to put it so succinctly:
“Be content with what nature gifts and gives, and treat it as an ally, not an enemy; make it your friend and comrade.”
He also points out that we have power over only ourselves: “You are a little soul carrying around a corpse,” he wrote in his journal (otherwise known as Meditations). “Don’t set your heart on things which are beyond your reach,” he writes elsewhere in his book. “The world is given to us by chance: but our character is formed by choice.”
If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.
The best way to achieve an excellent life is to do your duty, then act according to nature. The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in so far as it stands ready for any chance that fortune may send.
All things are interconnected.
The universe is not disconnected. There is no such thing as a random event. The universe is one and interconnected, with everything affecting everything else in some way, large or small. The universe is a single organism that lives and breathes and loves itself. It does this in many ways: by expanding outward, by creating more galaxies and stars, by bringing forth new life forms (such as humans), etc.
Very little is needed to make a happy life, it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.
- It’s a well-known fact that we are what we think. Our thoughts determine our feelings, which in turn determine our actions.
- Our actions become habits, and habits make us. So if you think of yourself as a person who allows negativity to take over your life, then that’s exactly what you will be—a pessimist who can’t see the positive side of anything. Conversely, if you believe that positivity is all around us and that there is no room for any negativity in our lives (regardless of whether or not this is true), then you will find yourself surrounded by people who share a similar mindset and worldview as yours; people who want nothing but good things for themselves and those around them.
- Let me say it again: how we perceive ourselves directly affects how others perceive us—and vice versa!
With great power comes great responsibility
You know the saying: With great power comes great responsibility. It’s one of those lamest Batman quotes, but it holds true in everyday life. The more power you have (say, the ability to write a book that other people want to read), the more responsibility you have (the obligation to create something worth reading). And vice versa—the more responsibility you take on, and the greater amount of good you do for others, the happier and more fulfilled your life will be as a result.
So, if you’re looking for some quotes on a bit of a darker note, Marcus Aurelius may be your man. He wrote in the second century AD and his Meditations is one of the best-known works on Stoicism today.