I recently had an opportunity to meet up with some old friends from the military at a retirement for a friend. This friend was doing what he loved, the Air Force was his dream job. I was envious. I retired from the military precisely because it was not what I loved. It was not my “dream job.” My friend will be moving on to a high-powered corporate management gig, and I started to wonder how he will do outside of his “dream job.” But then I realized something about my friend. It wasn’t that he was doing what he loved, it’s because he loves what he’s doing. My friend is going to love his new gig because he simply has a great attitude about things wherever he goes. More specifically, he loves making “good things happen to people” (his words). Fortunately for him, in management (a field used in every industry and calling) it always involves people.
“Every error implies conflict; for since he who errs does not wish to go wrong but to go right, plainly he is not doing what he wishes.” Epictetus (See Full Quote Here)
What is Epictetus getting at here? If you read the full excerpt, there is a lot to digest in this philosophical pondering. In the end, it comes down to this: Think before you do. When I take an action, when I make a decision about what to do, and when I choose how I will live my life, it should be consistent with my values, with my rationality. Continue reading →
“Every error implies conflict; for since he who errs does not wish to go wrong but to go right, plainly he is not doing what he wishes. For what does the thief wish to do? What is to his interest. If then thieving is against his interest, he is not doing what he wishes. But every rational soul by nature dislikes conflict; and so, as long as a man does not understand that he is in conflict, there is nothing to prevent him from doing conflicting acts, but, whenever he understands, strong necessity makes him abandon the conflict and avoid it, just as bitter necessity makes a man renounce a falsehood when he discovers it, though as long as he has not this impression he assents to it as true.” Epictetus Discourses Chapter 26
“He knew no weapons but to pay for what he wanted, to give value, to ask nothing of nature without trading his effort in return, to ask nothing of men without trading the product of his effort.” On Hank Rearden, Hero in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
Assuming you cannot return a favor to the fullest with your own service or product, the greatest form of gratitude you can provide someone for their service is to pay them. By paying a person who has provided you with something you need (or even just “want” for that matter), you transfer a portion of your own time, of your own labor to them as a “Thank You.”
“One thing here is worth a great deal, to pass thy life in truth and justice, with a benevolent disposition even to liars and unjust men.” Marcus Aurelius
At this point, I wonder to myself whether to live by Marcus Aurelius words above is all I need. There are proofs through logic that this is the best way to live, but do I need to go through the proofs? Is it like math class when I just wanted the teacher to give me the equation I could use to find the answer? Do I really need the proof?
Here is the full context of the opening quote from the Meditations. It’s like the proof. The last of the quote is the equation that I need: “Think continually that all kinds of men and of all kinds of pursuits and of all nations are dead, so that thy thoughts come down even to Philistion and Phoebus and Origanion. Now turn thy thoughts to the other kinds of men. To that place then we must remove, where there are so many great orators, and so many noble philosophers, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Socrates; so many heroes of former days, and so many generals after them, and tyrants; besides these, Eudoxus, Hipparchus, Archimedes, and other men of acute natural talents, great minds, lovers of labour, versatile, confident, mockers even of the perishable and ephemeral life of man, as Menippus and such as are like him. As to all these consider that they have long been in the dust. What harm then is this to them; and what to those whose names are altogether unknown? One thing here is worth a great deal, to pass thy life in truth and justice, with a benevolent disposition even to liars and unjust men.