The Daily Stoic for May 28th. “The First Two Things Before Acting”:
“The first thing to do—don’t get worked up. For everything happens according to the nature of all things, and in a short time you’ll be nobody and nowhere, even as the great emperors Hadrian and Augustus are now. The next thing to do—consider carefully the task at hand for what it is, while remembering that your purpose is to be a good human being. Get straight to doing what nature requires of you, and speak as you see most just and fitting—with kindness, modesty, and sincerity.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.5
Believe it or not, since I started reading the Daily Stoic book, I find myself less angry or easily upset by things happening outside of me. It was not usually this way before.
I would say I am not very good at actively practicing any book’s advice. You know, these books that tell you: “now I want you to take action, and do this and that …”. I usually highlight the passage, with the intention of getting back to it later… But deep inside, I know I won’t really get back to it.
The First Two Things Before Acting
So, I have not been following the stoic meditations with concrete actions, except for rare occasions.
I certainly started meditating more regularly and going through my day mentally in response to The Day In Review. But, on the other hand, failed to keep a morning ritual every day (unless you consider going to the gym as a morning ritual).
My point is, even though I’ve not been practicing stoicism as a programmed, explicit practice, it’s been growing on me. Today, for instance, I was really focused on some deep work task when suddenly my partner interrupted me with something.
I was really frustrated at the moment because I was stuck with something difficult, so my usual reaction would have been largely negative. However, this time, in a kind of instinctive way, I breathed in and stopped for a moment to help him with a smile on my face.
It’s amazing how something as simple can color your day in a completely different way or, at least, prevent you from letting negativity in.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that in the end, all that counts is trying to be happy instead of grumpy, enjoying our time with the people we love, and trying to be our best selves every day.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “The First Two Things Before Acting”, asks us to, before acting, avoid getting upset and then try to respond with our best self. I completely agree with that.
Ever since I started reading and writing about stoicism, I find myself less angry and more capable of keeping negativity under control. I wasn’t expecting that, but it’s certainly nice.