Discourses

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?

— But it’s nicer here….

So you were born to feel ‘nice’? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

— But we have to sleep sometime….

Agreed. But nature set a limit on that — as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota.

You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.

Is helping others less valuable to you? Not worth your effort?”

~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 5:1

Our biggest fear should be unfulfilled potential. When our time ends is irrelevant — all you have is the moment: not the past, not the future — how can you lose something you don’t have? We are therefore called to live our best lives, make the most of however much time we were allotted. Take your passions and crafts, and master them. Put in 10,000 hours, and more after that.

And don’t allow yourself to be dragged down by those who try to. They can take the physical entities of your life away, but they cannot take your ability to control your thoughts. That is, unless you allow them to. Remember: when others go low, we go high. Those who attempt to hurt others, especially intentionally, unknowingly only hinder their own growth, their own development. Show kindness, even to those who you may not think deserve it. That is the way to fulfill your potential.

AT

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