Marcus Aurelius, for much of life, an emperor.
Nelson Mandela, for a time, a prisoner.
Each of the above-mentioned people, over the course of their lives, found themselves, I’m sure, in the throes of Fortune’s storm or in the barren desert of Fate. Such is the nature of things. We aspire, we succeed, we fail… over and over and over.
The “high”we feel when dreaming, planning, hoping, and working toward success is addicting, and can only be tempered with humility. Once we’ve succeeded, it’s grace that grounds us, rooting us. Finally, in our failures, if we’re without the quality of resilience, we will most surely break.
But, how do we develop the clarity we need to face any situation feeling resolved, strong, and perhaps even wise?
By diligently being mindful toward what is in our control, and what isn’t.
Epictetus could not control his status as a slave, only his mind.
Marcus Aurelius could have abdicated, but then he’d have left Rome in a terrible position. He had to control his mind, and his choices for the betterment of a nation.
Nelson Mandela, during the time he was jailed, turned to the words of Marcus Aurelius (Meditations), and although he couldn’t control whether he was free or not, he could control his spirit and his choices.
Clarity is the constant awareness of our own freedom of choice. Where and who we are does not matter. Only our choices… what they are, how we evaluate them, how will we make the most of them.
Regardless of our status of rich or poor, free or slave, the Where, Who, What, and How of our choices are life’s only questions.
Answer with virtue.
(See y’all tomorrow)