Marcus Aurelius' Advice for a Successful Life

Marcus Aurelius

I came across this quote from Marcus Aurelius recently from another one of my favorite newsletters, The Marginalian.

I couldn't help but think of how this simple piece of advice can shape a day, a week, a year or even a life.

If we were to look at the things that happen to us with an unbiased eye, thinking about how they are shaping us in the big picture and not affecting us in the short term, we could likely see everything as teaching moments.

If I could remember this piece of advice more often, choosing to see events in my life as teaching moments rather than forces I need to conquer, I'd live a much more balanced life.

It reminds me of the fable about the farmer, his son and their horse:

A farmer and his son had a beloved horse who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbours exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”

A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild horses back to the farm as well. The neighbours shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”

Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the horses and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The neighbours cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”

A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg. The neighbours shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

(Story copy courtesy of Jay Mavani on Medium)

Seeing things from a bigger perspective can always bring balance and wisdom to your actions.

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