Stoicism – Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Animated Book SummaryOtis Rodgers December 5, 2019 100 Comments
So imagine you’re looking for a place to rent
for about a $1000. And you find a house that you really like,
and I’m the landlord, and I’m going to rent it to you
for a $1000 but I tell you, “Hey, in a year,
I might have to increase it to $1100.” And you think about it, and you say,
“Okay, cool. This is a good deal.” Now let’s say a year passes by
and I call you and say, “Hey, I’m going to increase your rent to $1100.”
When you hear that, it’s probably not going to affect you that
much. but let me give you another example… In this example, everything is exactly the
same. The house, your financial condition, everything.
You move in but I don’t tell you that I might increase the rent.
So a year goes by, and I call you out of nowhere and say,
“Hey, you’ll have to pay me $1100 starting next month.” So the first example might not necessarily
make you the happiest person but whatever, it’s not that big of a deal.
But in the second example, as soon as you hang up,
you’re going to start yelling not so nice things about me.
You’re going to be pissed off and angry. And you’re going to think,
how could I do this to you?! Now here’s the thing…
You’re going to go through that suffering and stress
just because you don’t have the right expectations about life.
So let me ask you this, and let’s assume that it’s completely legal
for the landlord to increase the rent if he decides to.
“Is it reasonable to expect that if a person can make more money, he is going to attempt
to do so?” And to that, my answer would be, absolutely.
That is a good, reasonable expectation to have.
So if you had that expectation, and that expectation again is a very realistic
expectation to have, you wouldn’t be so phased by the whole thing.
Nothing surprising happened here. So the first big idea is:
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself,
but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any
moment. And the same thing can be applied to everything
including tougher things like death and being stabbed in the back by one of your
closest friends. I remember the first few times
I got stabbed in the back by a close friend, and it sent me into this anger and depression
for weeks. And I remember the last time it happened about
a year ago, and I found out about it,
and I was just completely unphased by it. And this might seem a little bit pessimistic
and it is. There are bad things that happen in life.
That’s just the reality. Now, just like with any other philosophy,
I would recommend finding a good balance with this…
So for me, when I hang out with a friend, I’m not constantly paranoid about
how I’m going to get stabbed in the back or whatever.
I enjoy the moment. But if or when it does happen,
it’s nothing surprising. I don’t get phased, and angry, and depressed.
And why? Because that is a reasonable expectation to have.
Friends have been stabbing each other in the back
ever since friendships even started. Next big idea:
You have power over your mind – not outside events.
Realize this, and you will find strength. And I talk about this all the time,
so I’m not going to go into detail with it. But just going back to the whole renting example,
basically the exact thing happened to me just a few days ago.
And one, I didn’t get angry and pissed off, because there was nothing suprising about
it, that’s something that I fully expect. But two… I don’t have control over it.
What do I have control over? I said,
“Okay, if this is not a good deal, then I can go find a better deal and live
somewhere else.” Or, if this is still a good deal,
“Then I’m going to stay here, and it’s not going to affect my life.
I’m not going to be angry. I’m not going to be worried and stressed.
I’m going to be happy.” That is it. Marcus Aurelius says,
“Remember that very little is needed to make a happy life.”
And it’s so true. Happiness is all about the quality of thoughts
you put in your head. All you have to do is put the right ones in
there. Next big idea:
When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms,
go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people
they are. You will realize that there is no need to
be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion
about you. So I know a lot of other YouTube creators,
and when we talk, this is one of the biggest things that comes
up. How do you deal with all the criticism?
How do you deal with this really messed up stuff
that you get on a daily basis? And there are many ways,
but what Marcus Aurelius is talking about is one of them.
No one who has a great life or is successful is ever going to criticize you. I promise.
And don’t just trust me on this, let me ask you a question…
I want you to imagine Elon Musk or Bill Gates, or anyone who you think is successful
or has a great life themselves, commenting below and calling me a faggot.
I want you to try to imagine that. I will guarantee you that that is never going
to happen. Even when I look at my life and think,
“When was I the most critical of others,” it was exactly during the times that I sucked
myself, when I had the most horrible, negative, depressing
life myself. So now that we’ve established that whoever
criticizes you cannot possibly have a great life and be successful
themselves, why would you even give the slightest weight
to their opinion? And finally, the last big idea:
How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour
says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself,
to make it just and holy. So I talk about how I spent a lot of time
with my grandma as a kid. And she was probably the most miserable human
being I’ve ever known.
And here’s what she did all day. She’d wake and start bitching and gossiping
about everyone we knew. Did you hear that this person got married
to that person? Did you hear that this person might have slept
with that person? Did you hear about what the government did
wrong? And I’d look at her and I’d think,
“But what are you doing right?” All you do is wake up and bitch and gossip
about how everyone else is so horrible. Now look, there are plenty of things that
I don’t like. There are plenty of things that the government
doesn’t do well, and I could criticize them all day.
But I just don’t have that kind of time. I don’t have the time to worry about
who’s marrying who and who’s having sex with who.
Who cares? Why would I waste my time on that?
Let’s see… I can go on a walk and enjoy the nature for
an hour, or I can sit at home and be negative
and worry about what other people around me are doing.
Who cares? What am I doing right?
And I guarantee you, you’re not doing anything right,
when you spend your entire day worrying, bitching, and gossiping
about how some guy married another guy.