Wednesday, June 13, 2012
William Irvine in, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, asks, “Do you want to worry less and be more tranquil?” Of course, I say. Then consider this, and Irvine quotes the great stoic Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “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 and what is evil”—good being, contributing to a world that works for everyone, evil being, making the world more exclusive and exclusionary.
and Marcus Aurelius suggest: Irvine
Practice negative visualization: Periodically contemplate the bad things that can happen to you. This makes it easier to bear if such things do happen and it may also help you appreciate the stuff you currently take for granted.
Ascertain what you ‘completely’ control, what you cannot control, and what you somewhat control. Remind yourself that one thing you can control is your attitude to what is going on in and around you.
Tell yourself that discomfort is not necessarily a bad thing, as dealing with it can help you become courageous.
Do not get bent out of shape over insults. If the information conveyed is ‘true,’ learn from it. If the data is ‘false,’ then consider the source and be relieved that you are doing the ‘right’ things.
For Marcus Aurelius, the art of living is more like wrestling than dancing. To minimize getting thrown and pinned, follow his suggestions.