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You Ain’t Got Time | 10 Habits That Made Marcus Aurelius Great

The Daily Stoic
The Daily Stoic

People are out of their minds and always have been. You get the sense in Seneca’s writings that Rome drove him crazy. You see the same in Epictetus’ writings, perhaps more so. Both men looked at what was happening in Nero’s court and were baffled. People were currying favor with Nero’s cobbler to try to get ahead in the world. People were bankrupting themselves to impress people they didn’t even like. And things were no different by Marcus Aurelius’ time, that’s for sure.

But for as long as there have been these wack jobs out there, the Stoic response has been the same: Tuning it out. It’s saying to yourself: I ain’t got time for that, ain’t got time to argue, ain’t got time to change you, ain’t got time to even try to understand. That’s what Marcus is effectively opening Meditations with! He’s saying, look people today are going to be remarkably dumb but I can’t let them implicate me in their ugliness. I can’t get bogged down in it. I can’t try to reform them. I just need to do my job. Things are not asking to be judged by you, Marcus says later in Meditations, leave them alone.

Life is very short. Too short for silly arguments, too short for beating your head against the wall, too short to try to understand things that don’t matter, that are not asking to be understood by you. Leave them alone. Focus on what you have to do. Don’t get implicated in ugliness.

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