Desire and aversion

Desire and aversion, though powerful, are but habits. And we can train ourselves to have better habits. Restrain the habit of being repelled by all those things that aren’t within your control, and focus instead on combating things within your power that are not good for you.

~ Epictetus

The time assigned to you

Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions have been given you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.

~ Marcus Aurelius

Fear is a friend

You must understand fear so you can manipulate it. Fear is like fire. You can make it work for you: It can warm you in winter, cook your food when you’re hungry, give you light when you’re in the dark, and produce energy. Let it go out of control and it can hurt you, even kill you… Fear is a friend of exceptional people.

~ Cus D’Amato

True happiness

True happiness is to enjoy the present without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied, for he that is wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.

~ Seneca

Professional versus Amateur

I believe a man is a professional when he can do what needs to be done no matter how he feels within. An amateur is an amateur in his attitude emotionally. A professional is a professional in the way he thinks and feels and in his ability to execute under the most trying conditions.

~ Cus D’Amato

Stop drifting

Stop drifting. You’re not going to re-read your Brief Comments, your Deeds of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, the commonplace books you saved for your old age. Sprint for the finish. Write off your hopes, and if your well-being matters to you, be your own savior while you can.

~ Marcus Aurelius from, Meditations 3.14

Normally I would simply let a quote from Aurelius stand on its own. If you’re not familiar with Meditations—Aurelius didn’t choose that title for what he wrote, it was added to his work much later—it was a collection of writings he meant only for himself; this is the emperor of the Roman empire remonstrating himself.

Here’s a second helping of remonstration: Explore. Dream. Discover.

I write this blog for myself. (And no, I’m not laboring under the delusion that I’m creating a work for the ages like Aurelius’s, Meditations.) But I am simply pleased if you, Dear Reader, find my ramblings interesting. I am genuinely delighted if anything I write stimulates your thinking. I am downright ecstatic if any of my questions catalyze your changing the course of your life.

Do you read regularly, and what have you chosen to read with the aim of changing the course of your life?

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Tormented alike

Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they escape them worry no more. We however are tormented alike by what is past and what is to come. A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.

~ Seneca

The greatest gift

The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, “if you will take care of me, I will take care of you.” Now I say, “I will take care of me for you, if you will take care of you for me.”

~ John Rohn