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The Daily Stoic

You Don’t Want To Rule The World | You Don't Have To Have An Opinion

The Daily Stoic
The Daily Stoic

We talked about this recently, but ruling the world is not great. The evidence bears this out. In Lives of the Stoics, we tell the story of a haunting meeting between Posidonius and Marius, when Marius, during his seventh consulship of Rome, was on his deathbed. Marius was powerful but pathetic, his success having destroyed his soul, stripping him of happiness and the possibility of peace. Marcus Aurelius would have known this story. In Meditations he takes pains to remind himself that the cost of becoming Alexander the Great is not worth it—that few survive it.

Power and wealth, they change a person. Command is lonely and isolating, disorienting and corrosive. These are not environments conducive to virtue. They are not fantasies…they are nightmares.

We are lucky that destiny has not made us sovereigns, even in modern times (just ask King Charles what his childhood was like). But we are still ambitious, still have dreams of extreme wealth and power and influence. As if it actually serves the people who get it well—as if it doesn’t rip their families apart, doesn’t consume their every waking moment with dread or busyness.

Marcus Aurelius would have given anything to have had a life even half as normal as yours, half as stressful, burdensome, corrupting as his. You are so lucky…and yet here you are, dreaming of things that would ruin it.

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In today's Daily Stoic excerpt, Ryan reminds us that not all things are asking to be judged you, to let whatever is not in our favor become irrelevant. This kind of selective discipline is what the stoics practiced. They practiced having the ability of having absolutely no thought about it.


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