Marcus Aurelius: Closer to strength

“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on—it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”

—Marcus Aurelius. 


Marcus Aurelius: How to act

“How to act: 

Never under compulsion, out of selfishness, without forethought, with misgivings. 
Don’t gussy up your thoughts. 
No surplus words or unnecessary actions. 
Let the spirit in you represent a man, an adult, a citizen, a Roman, a ruler. Taking up his post like a soldier and patiently awaiting his recall from life. Needing no oath or witness. 
Cheerfulness. Without requiring other people’s help. Or serenity supplied by others. 
To stand up straight—not straightened.”
—Marcus Aurelius. 

Marcus Aurelius: Action by action

“You have to assemble your life yourself—action by action. And be satisfied if each one achieves its goal, as far as it can. No one can keep that from happening. —But there are external obstacles.… Not to behaving with justice, self-control, and good sense. —Well, but perhaps to some more concrete action. But if you accept the obstacle and work with what you’re given, an alternative will present itself—another piece of what you’re trying to assemble. Action by action.”

—Marcus Aurelius as translated by Gregory Hays.

Marcus Aurelius: People, our proper occupation


a sense, people are our proper occupation. Our job is to do them good and put up with them.
But when they obstruct our proper tasks, they become irrelevant to us—like sun, wind, animals. Our actions may be impeded by them, but there can be no impeding our intentions or our dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.
The impediment to action advances action.
What stands in the way becomes the way.

—Marcus Aurelius as translated by Gregory Hays.