Recently, I have been delving further into my study of Stoic philosophy, and more intently striving to live up to the principles it adheres to. In doing so, I began to write a journal, similar in style to Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, with the intent of self-reflection and improvement. Some weeks in, I thought it would be beneficial to create a set of guidelines that I could live up to, and turn to in times of anxiety and frustration.
Now, Marcus Aurelius never intended to have his journal seen by anyone else, let alone by the world, thousands of years later. However, given the wonderful wisdom found within, and the tremendous aid it has provided me and others, I am very glad that his personal thoughts were shared. That is why I will now be sharing my own, in hopes that I too may provide, at least a tidbit of help to those of you who are struggling through life, though I certainly do not claim to be anything close to Marcus Aurelius in terms of wisdom and experience. Still, I hope this may prove of some benefit. May fortune be kind, and may you find your way.
1. Reflect each day, whether by meditation or journal, on your actions for that day, to address your failures and contemplate how to improve.
2. Do nothing that would embarrass or disturb you if you witnessed it.
3. Act in such a way that you will recognize as virtuous, reasonable, and/or respectable.
4. Know that, while you cannot control all things around or pertaining to you, you do control how you react to these things, so do so in a virtuous, just, tranquil, and content manner.
5. Begin each day by recognizing you will come across challenges, whether they be inconsiderate people, weather, or something else entirely. Do this so that you are prepared and do not lose yourself to frustration and discontent.
6. Say to yourself, for all troubles, “this too, shall pass”.
7. Remind yourself of who you wish to be, then act in a way that will lead you to the end.
8. Read and write extensively, not only so that you may see others’ thoughts, but so you may visualize and better understand your own.