Marcus Aurelius: Top 5 Lessons We Can Learn from Him

Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them. ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. Marcus Aurelius, one of Rome’s “Five Good Emperors” and a Stoic philosopher, is famously known for his work “Meditations”, which is a series of personal writings and ideas which was a source of his guidance and self-improvement that he left for us.

Before going deep into some of his life lessons, we should know a little more about the “Stoic philosophy”, which is from ancient Greece and Rome originating in the early part of the third century BC. It maximizes positive emotions, reduces negative ones and helps individuals to reach their optimum potential and virtue.

Now that we’re a little more familiar with who he was and his philosophy, let’s delve into 5 Life Lessons We Can Learn from the Ancient Stoic, Marcus Aurelius. 

1. Truth Can’t Harm You, it’s the Person Who Continues in His Self-Deception and Ignorance Who is Harmed

Always, speak the truth, even if it makes you unpopular and even if it‘s risky and of course, if it’s not true, do not say it! One of the reasons why Marcus was admired was because of his honesty, he was not afraid of the truth, and even when everyone else preferred to lie and hide to save their lives, he stood up and defended what he believed was right.

As you will understand from this article, the Stoic lessons are quite simple but they’ve gotten lost in our present time; people rather lie to themselves and make people lie to them than face reality, something I talked about in my article on Gender Dysphoria. When we lie, we lose a part of us, of our souls; you lose your character! And I can understand that it can be hard sometimes, but the repercussions of a lie can be heavy in the long run.

2. Justice is The Source of All Virtues

To follow the first lesson, if you want justice you have to be honest. And, why was justice so important to him you might wonder? Well, because Marcus said that we are all tied together in this world, in a society. We are connected and we have to work together for a better future.

Marcus also believed; this was natural in humans; we feel this need to work together in our very bones. In my opinion, this statement is accurate but that feeling of justice, or maybe the “concept” of justice can be perceived from different angles.

We can look at how people discriminate and segregate some groups or specific individuals for the sake of “justice”, we can see how people destroy and attack paintings, sculptures, and masterpieces and promote “heroes” who are nothing but bad apples. Why? Because our concept of justice can differ from the original one, this is something that we should talk more about as a society.

3. The Best Revenge is Not to Be Like Your Enemy

In other words, be better than them. If someone tries to attack you, just do not give them attention, they want you to react and fall into their game, and the best way to win is just by not playing. This lesson is going to be quite short, simply why would you care about what others think about you?

Maybe sometimes you can be in the wrong, but what I‘m trying to say here is that people will comment and react to everything you do, everything can be labelled as right or wrong by lots of people, so do not pay attention to the “noise”.

4. It is Not Death That a Man Should Fear, but He Should Fear Never Beginning to Live

There’s an old saying; life is too short to drown in mundane problems. We all have problems and those problems can mean the world to us, but almost everything can be solved too, so try to see the bigger picture! Sometimes we sink in waters which are not deep enough to kill us, but we panic and flail about and can’t seem to find any light.

We only have one life, ask yourself; what do you love and enjoy? Are you doing those things? Imagine being on your deathbed and regretting not reaching for everything that you wanted, how would it make you feel?

5. You Have Power Over Your Mind – Not Outside Events. Realize This, and You Will Find Strength

You are stronger than you think, the clinical psychologist rock star Jordan B. Peterson, mentions that people are dying for a word of encouragement. We are constantly attacking ourselves; we would rather take care of and be good to others than the person whom we see every day in the mirror. From all the lessons, this one should be heard and repeated constantly, especially to young people of our generation.

And to conclude, just in case no one told you this, you are enough, you can go through this and much more, just breathe, rest if you need to and then keep going, prove every single person who doubts you wrong. Reading about Marcus and his Stoic philosophy is a must. He teaches us lessons that are the base of our world but which now seem to be forgotten. If you like these 5 lessons from Marcus Aurelius, share them with your friends and keep learning more about Stoicism.

Favorite Quotes

  • The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
  • Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
  • Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
  • When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …”
  • Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

What do you think about Marcus Aurelius’ ideas and quotes above? Which of them do you resonate with most? Let us know in the comments below and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram

Agustin Cardone

Agustin Cardone, from Argentina, currently lives in Ireland, and studies psychology in Mexico. He fell in love with sports when he started playing rugby at 14, soon becoming team captain. He now lifts weights and practices boxing as a way to release stress. He is highly interested in the relationship between body and mind, and is curious about how the brain works and why people do what they do. He would like to help people with addiction, depression, and personality disorders. He believes we all have a story to tell and that we should express it.

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