Why did the Romans adapt Greek stoicism? Simple. The Romans adapted Greek stoicism to fit their needs. That insight raised one question: Should we adapt both stoic schools to fit our modern-day needs? Yes. I think so. Here are my top 3 reasons why I think so.
The world has changed much over the last 1500 years
“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius
Valuable life lessons are everywhere! They are the rules that always apply. If we follow the life lessons, we move much faster towards success and happiness. They guide us around obstacles and prevent problems. As society we formulate life lessons as brief one-liners. A great example is, “Health Is Wealth.” But, it’s not enough to know them, we have to understand them. If you want to use the great power of valuable life lessons, you have to find them in everyday life FIRST.
A big part of everyday life is work. So, work is a great opportunity to get true understanding of life lessons. I will explain you how with an example out of my life.
Have you ever had a hard time answering such questions: Should I break up with my girlfriend? Should I give up my studies? Should I buy the new PlayStation? Should I take the Job at ACME? Often times we ponder over hard questions a long time, not knowing how to answer them. A Pro-Con List is and easy and powerful thinking tool that can help us to make a decision.
Funny fact about Pro-Con Lists
Are you the computer guy in your family? Are you fixing every computer problem for your parents? Or, are you “responsible” for every problem with the Internet connection? I’m that guy. I think everybody with parents born before the Internet-era is that guy. Often, rebooting is enough to resolve the issue. But, some issues demand maximum effort(, to quote Deadpool). They demand you sitting in front of the machine. I try to resolve such issues with Teamviewer.
My father is a simple man from a rural village in the former Yugoslavia. He is a relict from a time when men still were masculine. Sometimes he shares his wisdom with me in form of stories. Here is one of them:
How do you practice your social skills? That’s a funny question, isn’t it? All the socially savvy people I asked had never practiced their social skills. They have no idea how. All the socially unsavvy people I asked have no idea either. The advice I got was to talk to as many different people as possible. But, I feared approaching new people because I had no idea how to behave and what to talk about. The thought alone paralyzed me. I feared rejection until I found probably the easiest way to practice my social skills.
Acknowledgment at work feels great. I love to get acknowledgment for great work and great ideas. I’m sure you love to get acknowledgement at work as well. Sadly, leaders and colleagues don’t always show acknowledgement, when it is appropriate. They should! And we should do it as well. The only question left is: What is the best way to show acknowledgement?
“The greatest humiliation in life, is to work hard on something from which you expect great appreciation, and then fail to get it.” – E. W. Howe
Do you hate deadlines?
I hated deadlines in school and college! I wasn’t good at time management back when. Every assignment with a deadline tormented me. Most of my classmates felt the same. Today, I love deadlines! I love constrains and clear focus. One reason I changed my opinion is Rework. This book changed many of my beliefs and changed the way I work.
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson wrote Rework as a by-product of their work at Basecamp. Jason Fried founded 1999 with Carlos Segura, and Ernest Kim Basecamp, as a web design company. Segura and Kim left. Fried hired Hansson to build a web-base project management tool. Later, he became a partner at Basecamp.
I read the Meditations by Marcus Aurelius the first time in August 2014. To be honest, it disappointed me. A couple of months before, I read The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday and A Guide To The Good Life By William B. Irvine. They introduced me to stoicism. I loved reading both books. Both authors explain in a structured and easy way stoic ideas. I expected the same from Marcus Aurelius and the Meditations. But, the Meditations are not like any other book I read. In September 2015 I reread it with a clear view what the Meditations are and how I could take notes. This second time I wasn’t disappointed.
“The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.” – Marcus Aurelius
Do you know what you want to study? Do you know what career you want to pursue? Are you 100% sure? Do you want to study? Or, do your parents urge you to study? All these questions are important for prospective students. I recommend following advice to find an answer to each one of these questions.
“Just taking risks for risk’s sake, that doesn’t do it for me. I’m willing to take risks that I think are worth it, and I’ve worked so hard to make sure that I survive.” – Chris Hadfield