Over the past century, psychology has discovered a lot about how individuals can live happier and more successful lives. A lot of this research is covered in the many articles I write for The Emotion Machine.
But what’s just as fascinating to me is how much we can also learn from older philosophies. For example, my personal philosophy is influenced by a whole range of different schools of thought, including: Existentialism, Buddhism, Taoism, Objectivism, and – the subject of this article – Stoicism.
The truth is we don’t need to subscribe to only one school of thought. Instead we can learn from multiple schools and borrow what works for us, and ditch what doesn’t.
Stoicism is a philosophy first started in Ancient Greece in the 3rd century BCE. One of it’s primary teachings is to “focus on what is in your control and ignore what isn’t in your control.”
To follow this teaching, the Stoics knew that we had to observe reality as it is, and not always as we want it to be. Because only by honestly observing our world can we correctly discover what’s in our power vs. what isn’t.
Here is a collection of thought-provoking quotes from Marcus Aurelius’ classic work Meditations, which help describe this power of seeing things as they are and why this is so important.