For the vast majority of my life I’ve lived at the extremes, which is to say I’m a very intense person. When things were good they were great, and when they weren’t… you probably wanted to avoid me like the plague. I’m was the guy who could inspire you, empower you and push you to new heights. I was also the guy who could derail the train if we collided with the right mix of adverse conditions.
To illustrate a couple of trees in the front yard at my parents house have lifelong scars because I tried to chop them down with a baseball bat on nights I had bad games.
Fortunately, the latter came few and far between, but nonetheless it’s something I’ve worried about when I think of myself as a potential leader of a team, of a community, of a business.
As I’ve grown older, maturity seems to be a valuable prescription in fighting these negative symptoms, but being insatiably curious (like many of you) I still sought a tool to help provide more balance in my life. I needed balance to help facilitate the type of relationships, both business and personal, that I wanted to facilitate in my life.
I got turned on to stoicism by Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferris when I found myself fascinated with Ryan’s “Stoicism 101: A Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs.”
Stoicism differs from most existing schools in one important sense: its purpose is practical application. It is not an intellectual enterprise. It’s a tool that we can use to become better entrepreneurs, better friends and better people.
Stoic writing isn’t about beating up on yourself or pointing out the negative. It’s a meditative technique that transforms negative emotions into a sense of calm and perspective.
And that was the start of my journey down the rabbit hole.
It hasn’t been an overnight success, and I have barely skimmed the surface of all the things I want to read, but I can attest to the fact that I’m already seeing a positive difference. I am being less vocal about things that irritate me, I’m remaining more calm in situations that would usually entail a long walk to avoid saying something I couldn’t take back, and I even navigated a recent situation enabling me to retain a friend (albeit under different circumstances) that in the past I would’ve turned my back on.
I’m proud of these small steps, and I feel confident that stoicism will enable me to grow and cultivate the kinds of relationships that will lead to success. So in the spirit of that growth, I’d like to share some of my favorite quotes from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations with all of you with the hope that even just one is something that resonates with you and makes your life a little bit better:
“Every hour of the day give vigorous attention to the performance of the task in hand with precise analysis, with unaffected dignity, with human sympathy, with dispassionate justice – and to vacating your mind from all its other thoughts.”
“When it is open to you, at any time you want, to retreat into yourself. No retreat offers someone more quiet and relaxation than that into his own mind.”
“‘It is my bad luck that this has happened to me.’ No, you should rather say: ‘It is my good luck that, although this has happened to me, I can bear it without pain, neither crushed by the present nor fearful of the future.'”
“The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.”
“If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one’s own self-deception and ignorance.”
“It is the gentle who have strength, sinew, and courage – not the indignant and complaining. The closer to control of emotion, the closer to power. Anger is as much a sign of weakness as is pain.”
“Say to yourself first thing in the morning: today I shall meet people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious, unsocial.”
“Imagine you were now dead, or had not lived before his moment. Now view the rest of your life as a bonus, and live it as nature directs.”
What techniques, school’s of thought, strategies do you employ to help cultivate relationships? Do you have an intense, potentially abrasive personality? What do you do to contain it? Most importantly, what did you think of the quotes? Could you apply them to your own life to help you progress and become a better person? Friend? Businesswoman?
How Stoicism Helps Cultivate Relationships — http://bit.ly/KR7SL