Building Virtue with Marcus Aurelius—Part 2—Perseverance

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The circumstances are never going to be perfect, so you may as well disabuse yourself of the notion that they ever will be.  The summit awaits and you will summon everything in you to overcome any obstacles.

“Begin the morning by saying to yourself ‘I shall meet with people who are busybodies, ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, selfish.  All these things trouble them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil. But I have seen that the nature of the good is that it is beautiful and of the bad that it is ugly.  And that the nature of him who does wrong is akin to my own nature. Not in the sense of being of the same blood or seed, but in that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity. So I cannot be injured by any of them.’” How does this relate to perseverance?

You have goals.  You have a mission. You are building something. Perseverance is key.

Don’t let anything stand in your way.  Don’t let what you see around you disappoint you or discourage you.  Don’t let it make you complacent either. It isn’t an excuse for you to slack or neglect your duties.

Letting something get to you isn’t going to change it.  Keep your cool, navigate it, and keep it moving.

You have shit to do and you’re not gonna let anything knock you off track.

“Remember how long you have been putting off these things and how often the gods have put opportunity in your way and yet you do not use it. You must now, at last, take cognizance of the universe of which you are a part. And the administrator of the universe of which your existence is a manifestation. And that a limit of time is fixed for you, which, if you do not use for clearing away the clouds from your mind, it (your mind) will go and you will go.  And the opportunity will never return.”

What are you waiting for?

Procrastination is like masturbation: You’re only screwing yourself.

You want to build something. You were created to build.

Why haven’t you started?

You started but stopped? Why did you stop?

Why are you putting off that next big leap forward? Or that small step that you just don’t want to take?

You dread it.

Dreading it isn’t going to make it go away.

Facing it, taking whatever it has in store for you, and then stepping over it is the only way forward. This is perseverance.

You’re afraid of failure.

Make a move anyway. Doing nothing guarantees failure.

Not risking failure doesn’t accomplish anything. It only gives you the illusion that you haven’t failed yet.

But you failed the moment you attempted to avoid the risk of failure.

You’re overwhelmed by the weight of the task.

The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  So grab a fork and a knife and get to eating.

And when you think you can’t down another bite…perseverance is your ally. Chew your food and keep eating.

You have a world to create and time is wasting.

You’re a perfectionist.

In the immortal words of Hotep Jesus: “Done is better than perfect.” We can perfect it later.

Staring at the problem and trying to wait until you have the perfect solution? You’re gonna be staring forever.

You have other tasks more important and it can wait.

This is your ultimate goal we’re talking about.  Your destiny.  The thing that makes you come alive. The reason you were created. You better have a really solid set of priorities and a really good reason for placing anything else ahead of that, even on a temporary basis.

The reality is putting it off anymore will just continue to build a mountain of disappointment, regret, and a lack of fulfillment until you get back on course.  There’s a reason this animates you in a way nothing else does.  This is your purpose.

You’re not motivated.

Shut up.  Motivation is for weak minded people. Perseverance is the virtue of the strong-minded.

You know what will motivate you? Taking that next step and getting back in alignment with your purpose. 

The reason you aren’t motivated is you’re slacking and you know it.  Maybe only subconsciously, but you know it.

So act. Move. Persevere. The motivation will come when you give it a reason.

Not sure where to start.

Just start somewhere.  Do any small thing to move toward your goal.  This will start to introduce clarity and direction and will animate the next steps that come to you subconsciously.

But you have to start somewhere. Sitting around and waiting is going to kill you.

And you’re not ready to die yet. You have a world to create.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is a great source of inspiration and organization of thought to cultivate virtue and be the man you were created to be. Part 3 coming soon. Read Part 1 here.

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