On Tranquility And Things | Marcus Aurelius
A short reflection on how to focus on the essentials | Memento Mori | Stoicism
Occupy thyself with few things, says the philosopher, if thou wouldst be tranquil.
“More is always better”, the saying goes.
But is it really?
Owning more also means having to take care of more.
Taking care of something requires responsibility.
That’s what ownership is about.
How many things can you effectively take care off?
How many threads can you open up until you have to start juggling?
How many things will you occupy yourself with until you start feeling their burden?
Certainly, we can find ways of how to manage our assets without thinking too much about the nitty-gritty. We can hire people to help and do work for us. In that case, we trade one thing for another. Having to manage the things against having to manage the people.
Steven Covey described a method of planning your week by determining to roles you have in life, and then allocating a block of time for each role you want to invest into during that week.
I feel like this quote kind of relates to this in the way that we can only do so much during any given time period.
So, to be deliberate with our actions, we must allocate our time wisely and within reason. (Wisdom & Justice)
We need to invest our mental energy into the things that have high leverage for our lives, that reduce our stress, that help us grow, and be calm.
This quote also easily relates to the stoic principle of Amor Fati, which teaches us to simply accept things that are outside our control.
Do not occupy yourself with all the thing you cannot change anyway. Instead, focus on what you really want to do. How can you get there?
Apply the virtue of Justice to determine what the right course of action it. What are the things that truly matter?
Retreat into your Inner Citadel, your inner place of peace and quiet, listen. Leave ego aside. What is the optimal course of action? What are the essential things you need to do?
Simmer it down until you have a handful of things to center your life around.
That’s what I can recommend, anyway, by applying what I have learned from the Stoics & Steven Covey.
I started with the exercise of writing myself a Personal Mission Statement and built a structure around that to support me in leading a life I can be proud of in the end. Which is me trying to practice Memento Mori.
If you’d be interested in trying this out for yourself, I included the exercise in the Notion template I built around this. You can check it out on Gumroad. Use the discount code bsq-nt-30 for 30% off.
Do a few high leverage, essential things that actually impact your life goals. Ignore the rest, it is noise.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What situation have you dealt with where you zoned in on doing only the essentials?
Or maybe you have another great quote regarding the virtue Justice? Don’t hesitate to submit it via this form or leave a comment 📝
Want more? Check out last week’s reflection on Best Stoic Quotes