Inspiration from Brittany Packnett, Marcus Aurelius, Simon Sinek, and More – The Simple Dollar:

Marcus Aurelius on your thoughts and your life

The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

Perhaps the single biggest revelation I had during the last ten years is that I have a ton of control over what I think about, and what I think about ends up shaping how I feel about a lot of things, how I react to things, and what I choose to do in life.

An example: if I spend my time thinking negative thoughts about working out, it’s not going to be long before I’m simply completely uninterested in working out and I’m going to stop any sort of workout routine. Rather, if I catch myself thinking negative thoughts about it, I intentionally kill them and start thinking positive thoughts instead. “This will feel good. This will make me healthier. This will be fun. Remember how much you enjoyed that workout a few weeks ago? What did you do during that? Let’s recreate it!” Thinking thoughts like that intentionally gets me more excited about exercising, makes it go better, and makes me feel better about it afterwards, and eventually I don’t really have those negative thoughts any more.

This is true for everything. You have so much power over what you choose to think about things, and if you choose to think negative thoughts about the better but more challenging things in life, things will go poorly. Save your negative thoughts for the things that actually harm you and then let them fly, but give positive thoughts to the good things in life, like the person who’s nice to you even when you feel grumpy. That person is awesome. Think about how awesome that person is.

(Via The Simple Dollar)

Fear and mistakes:

A periodic reminder about mistakes to self: Do not fear mistakes. Instead, if we must go down the path of fear, fear only –
i) the repetition of the same mistake because we didn’t learn from it and
ii) the absence of a creative, constructive, and corrective response to the mistake.

(Via A Learning a Day)

I like to go a step further. I wake up in the firm knowledge that I will make mistakes. The measure of them is what I do with them.

Heraclitus Quotes by plato:

“Everything changes and nothing stands still.”
As quoted by Plato in Cratylus, 402a
“It is harder to fight against pleasure than against anger.”
As quoted by Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics, Book II (1105a)
“Time is a game played beautifully by children.”
As quoted in Fragments (2001) translated by Brooks Haxton
“War is the father and king of all, and has produced some as gods and some as men, and has made some slaves and some free.”
Hippolytus, Ref. haer. ix. 9 (Fragment 53). G. T. W. Patrick, 1889
“Though wisdom is common, yet the many live as if they had a wisdom of their own.”
Fragment 2, as quoted in Against the Mathematicians by Sextus Empiricus
“Much learning does not teach understanding.”
Fragment 40
“The road up and the road down is one and the same.”
Fragment 60
“You cannot step twice into the same rivers.”
Fragment 91. Plutarch, On the EI at Delphi
“Dogs, also, bark at what they do not know.”_
Fragment 97_
“It is better to conceal ignorance than to expose it.”
Fragment 109
“Character is destiny.”
Fragment 119

The Assumptions Checklist:

Our decisions are rarely based on objective information. And even when we do have ‘good data’, it’s coloured by why, who and how it’s collected. Often our decisions are based on assumptions. We accept something as true, without proof. We make many of these assumptions with a scarcity mindset. We kill good ideas too soon by assuming there is not enough of this or too much of that to make a difference. And pursue bad ones for similar untested reasons.
We can challenge our assumptions by compiling three lists to answer three simple questions:
A. What assumptions am I making?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5&..and so on.
B. What if what I’m assuming is not true?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5&..and so on.
C. How can I test these assumptions?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5&..and so on.
We create a more hopeful set of expectations by calling out the beliefs that are holding us back.

I like this. As I pour through “The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli” my biases are more front of mind. This method is a nice check on some of those.

There is No Time for Anything Else:

“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after-thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.”

— Keanu Reeves

(Via swissmiss)

Strategies for Seizing the Day by Ryan Holiday:

You’re alive right now. In front of you sits just a handful of hours before the day is through. What tomorrow has in store, you cannot know. Piles of problems could be dumped on you. A surprise call from the doctor could change everything. You could wake up with the flu and spend the next week in bed. You could not wake up at all.
This leaves you with a few options for today: You can muddle through, you can worry about all the things that might happen, or you can seize the day–here and now. The right choice is obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
The famous Latin phrase carpe diem, or “seize the day,” has stared at us from coffee cups and motivational posters for as long as we’ve been alive. Longer, in fact; it’s from a poem written in 23 B.C. We’ve been struggling to follow this simple anodyne command basically since the beginning of time. It was hard for the ancients, and it’s hard for us.
What is cool, however, is that since right around Horace’s time, smart people–especially the ancient Stoics–have been developing strategies for how to seize the day. They’re not magical solutions, but they do help. They work if you work them. So let’s get to it.

Get up early

Do it now

Put devices away

Don’t try to be perfect

Embrace change

Don’t leave things hanging

Banish fear

Don’t defer your happiness

Demand the best of (and for) yourself

Memento Mori

Read the article for all the details. It is worth your time. Here’s a bit from the last part of the article:
Today could be the last day of my life. It could be the last day of your life. It could also be the best day of our lives.
Seize it.

Don’t Be A Snowflake:

A few years ago, conservative commentators in America began using a term for young college students-mostly liberal-who insisted on #noplatforming speakers they disagreed with: Snowflakes. It was said with both a sneer and well-meaning wisdom because the world just isn’t going to work if you think you can block out or censure everything you find objectionable.
But here’s the problem. It’s totally _hypocritical. Because on all sides of the political debate we have this snowflake tendency. Conservatives freak out now when people question or criticize the president (indeed, the president himself loves to dish it out, but complains constantly about having to take it). You’d be amazed at the number of Donald Trump supporters-the same ones who accuse liberals of Trump Derangement Syndrome-who send in angry notes to that illustrate not just their inability to deal with views they disagree with, but also exhibit what ought to be called _Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
Why point this out?
Because the whole aim of Stoicism is to reduce the amount of offense we take from things that are outside our control. Remember, Epictetus says we are complicit when we allow someone to make us angry, when their words produce a disproportionate reaction from us. Intellectually, a philosopher has to be someone who can calmly entertain, consider, and engage with views and ideas different from their own. The notion that you would love listening to a band and then turn them off because they “brought politics into it” is positively infantile, whatever those politics are. Or that you’d turn away from a friend or a parent because they are on their own intellectual or social journey. (Or unsubscribe from a free email you otherwise liked!)
Snowflakes, whether they are on the left or the right, are miserable because they need the world to be a certain way-their way. They are constantly at risk of being upset and disturbed because someone else-someone with views different than their own-has the power to say or do or think for themselves. A Stoic, on the other hand, is open-minded and content to let others live and think as they wish. Not only that, but they relish the opportunity to have their own views challenged, because they know they grow stronger for it.
Don’t be a snowflake. Be a Stoic.
I like this.
I started using the term “snowflake” a long time ago to describe young adults who were ill prepared for the real world, like the twenty-something who wanted to bring his mom to a job interview with me.
Eventually I started using the term to mean anyone, myself included, who lack emotional or intellectual resiliency.
Once it became a common epithet of trolls and the right, I ditched it.
My interest in Stoicism developed independently, but I’m happy to merge the two as Daily Stoic lays out.

The exhaust fan:

In our office, the kitchen exhaust fan blows the smoke from the cooktop–back into the kitchen.

It’s a closed loop, a palliative, a noisy device that doesn’t do much except make you feel like at least you’re trying.

Most of the exhaust fans in our lives are actually part of a closed system. The detritus, pain or actions we share don’t go very far away before they turn around and head back toward us.

(Via Seth Godin)

Marcus Aurelius on not living forever

“Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.” – Marcus Aurelius

It is so easy to put off the “urgent but not important” things until tomorrow. I can call my mom tomorrow. I can tell my wife I love her tomorrow. I can spend quality time with my kids tomorrow. 

The thing is, tomorrow might never come. Tomorrow, I might not be here. Tomorrow, my wife might not be here. My kids. My mom.

This is true for almost everything of importance in our lives, especially those things we deem “not urgent.” It’s so easy to put off the things that aren’t screaming for our focus. 

There are few things you will do that will wind up being more meaningful than intentionally taking time each day to mark off a few of those “important but not urgent” things. Give your spouse a hug and a kiss and whisper that you love them. Give your kids a hug, turn off your cell phone, and spend a couple of hours with them. Call your mom and actually listen. Read that challenging book on your nightstand. Volunteer for that charity.

You won’t regret it.

Coach Rav’s 23 Life Choices by :

I saw an article about George Raveling recently in the Daily Stoic newsletter. Raveling – known as Coach Rav to many, has a pretty remarkable history. And an even better life philosophy that fits very nicely with #GiveFirst.
On his website, he has a page titled 23 Life Choices That Are In Your Control. It’s delightful and follows.
> 1. Be YOU, not them.

Solid idea poorly phrased.

> 2. Do more, expect less.

I’m ≠ sure about the message. I think it’s to be net positive, but do more than what or who? Expect less from what or who?.

> 3. Be positive, not negative.

That is, unless negativity is a positive. In Stoicism we talk about negative visualizations, which are valuable. In business, thinking about the worst things that can happen feeds into resiliency.

> 4. Be the solution, not the problem.

I would change this to something like “don’t spend time creating roadblocks”.

> 5. Be a starter, not a stopper.

Throwing a flag on this one. It’s ≠ hard to think of scenarios where stopping is the best thing.

> 6. Question more, believe less.

Trust, but verify.

> 7. Be a somebody, never a nobody.

Be somebody, yes. ≠ “A” somebody

> 8. Love more, hate less.

How is this not a duplicate of #20?

> 9. Give more, take less.


> 10. See more, look less.


> 11. Save more, spend less.

I would add “value more” to this.

> 12. Listen more, talk less.

Assuming your job isn’t talking for a living.

> 13. Walk more, sit less.

The science is inconclusive. Mix things up.

> 14. Read more, watch less.

I prefer “Learn more, mindlessly consume less.”, but better phrased.

> 15. Build more, destroy less.

Nope. Maybe in general, but not always.

> 16. Praise more, criticize less.

Nope. Honest feedback is necessary.

> 17. Clean more, dirty less.


> 18. Live more, do not just exist.


> 19. Be the answer, not the question.

I have no idea what this means.

> 20. Be a lover, not a hater.

I no longer hate Brussels sprouts yet I also do not love them. Instead, I advise making your hate a finite, limited resource. Spend it well. Otherwise, run the gamut from dislike to love without assigning more emotion than is needed.

For example, I fondly remember the Star Trek movies 1-5. The next batch had moments. The reboot put me to sleep – I actually fell asleep every time I tried to watch it. Other people love the new Star Trek. Great for them! I’m obviously not losing sleep over the reboot, but also it has zero impact on me.

I have more important things to deal with than what some mega-corporation does with a massively popular commercial property they own.

But I digress.

> 21. Be a painkiller, not a pain giver.

I disagree with this one. Sometimes the best thing you can do for another person is to tell them a hard truth they chose not to acknowledge.

> 22. Think more, react less.

Assuming one has the luxury of time, this is good.

> 23. Be more uncommon, less common.

I don’t know what this means.

If you just skimmed the list, I encourage you to go back and read it again. To slow down and really savor it, read each line out loud and then ponder what you are doing to make that choice on a daily basis.

There is some useful stuff in here, but don’t expect a treasure trove of insight. I’m poking holes in some of them because they are platitudes too generically bland to be useful in real life. However, the overall ideal is one we all should embrace more often.