Marcus Aurelius is one of the most incredible figures in all of history. As a young boy, he was chosen and groomed to be the emperor of most of the known world. Absolute power not only didn’t corrupt, it made him better.
Here are 12 rules he lived by...
1. Wake up early
“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work – as a human being...I’m going to do what I was born for...Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’” up early
2. Be strict only with yourself
It must have been tempting to hold others to the same standards Marcus held himself to. "But here the rare goodness of the nature of Marcus Aurelius shone out in all its brilliancy," one biographer wrote. "His severity was confined only to himself.”
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
“Don’t be ashamed to need help. Like a soldier storming a wall, you have a mission to accomplish. And if you’ve been wounded and you need a comrade to pull you up? So what?”
4. Treat success and failure the same
Some days, Marcus wrote, the crowd cheers. Other days, they boo. Some days, you catch a break. Other days, nothing goes your way. The key is to assent to all of it: “To accept it without arrogance, to let it go with indifference.
5.Replace anger with love
“Not to display anger or other emotions. To be free of passion and yet full of love.”
6.Constantly ask, “is this necessary?”
“Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’
7. Never be overheard complaining…even to yourself
Marcus reminded himself over and over and over again: Look inward, not outward. Don’t complain. Don’t meddle in the affairs of others. Where does complaining get you? he asked. "No pointless actions."
8, Help yourself by helping others
“Have I done something for the common good? Then I share in the benefits.”
9. The best revenge is not to be like
In 175, Marcus was betrayed by his most trusted general in an attempted coup. He could have demanded all the sadistic revenge possible to a man of his unlimited power. But, he reminded himself, "the best revenge is to not be like your enemy.”
10, Always do the right thing
"If, at some point in your life, you should come across anything better than justice, truth, self-control, courage—it must be an extraordinary thing indeed.”
11, Live as if you were a dying person
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”
12, The obstacle is the way
Some think of hardship as failure, the end of the road. Others see it as grist for the mill, an opportunity to prove their mettle. Marcus believed in the latter approach: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”