These 3 Ancient Philosophies Will Help You Live a More Meaningful Life
Just by reminding yourself of them daily.
People back in the ancient days are incredible. They’re actually happy with their own life and had the time to think instead of wasting it on Instagram and Facebook.
That being said, here are the three philosophies that might help you start living a more meaningful life.
You forgot you might die anytime, like even right now
You can leave life now. Let that determine what you do, say, and think — Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor and a philosopher. He was the last of the Five Good Emperors of the Roman empire. In short, he’s pretty badass while keeping a cool head.
However, unlike most of us, Marcus never forgets his mortality despite the power he had as a king. He reminded himself daily that he could die instantly. Not out of pessimism but solely from the viewpoint of doing what’s right.
He was a busy man (he was the king of the Roman empire for god sake). Yet he never rushes his time to put his children to sleep and spend time with his wife. All because he remembers that every opportunity that he gets to spend time with his family could be his last.
How about you? Do you take life for granted?
Understanding the true meaning of wealth
Wealth is not in having great possessions but in having few wants — Epictetus
How often were you told that you need something better? Maybe it’s a bigger house. Or that higher “fake” education that might get you a fat paycheck so you could pay for more expensive stuff?
Most of us are running on a hedonic treadmill. We constantly chase bigger and sexier houses, cars, cash, thinking that we need these external validations to feel alive. Otherwise, what’s the meaning of a wealthy life?
You’re empty inside. And you can’t fill an internal void with external stuff.
The only way out of the rat race of chasing shiny stuff is to be content with the present. If you can’t feel happy with what you have now, you’ll never be happy with anything in the future.
As you cultivate gratitude, anything “better” would be seen as an extra or bonus to your life. Of course, upgrades are always nice but you don’t necessarily need them to be happy.
This is the true inner wealth that Epictetus speaks about which goes beyond physical stuff.
You’re too distracted by others’ expectations
Care about what others think and you will always be their prisoner — Lao Tzu
Remember the time when you were little and you could have been anything you imagined? You could even be a ladybug if that was what you wanted.
Life was full of possibilities… until you grew up. You start to get a taste of what responsibilities feel like. As a man, a woman, the eldest sibling, an employee, an employer, or any other social role that you might have, they come with a set of expectations.
And of course, as decent human beings, we would want to play our role well so that we don’t disappoint those who truly matter to us.
Here’s the catch — we often mistake the norm to be “what is expected of us”.
Just because something is commonly accepted doesn’t mean it’s the best for us. Smoking and having loans are common, but you wouldn’t say you should smoke or get piles of loans, do you?
Some other societal expectations are:
- Suck up to your boss, or you’re fucked;
- If you’re not married at 30, you’re also fucked;
- If you don’t own a house, you’re definitely fucked;
Again, putting too much emphasis on what society is expecting of you is gonna make your life miserable if that’s not what you actually want.
Instead, consider making a habit out of journaling. This helps constantly remind yourself what truly matters to you in life and how you can make them happen.
Don’t let others’ expectations hold you down. Start writing your own rules of life.
The three philosophies we discussed today are:
- You forgot you might die anytime, like even right now;
- Understanding the true meaning of wealth;
- You’re too distracted by others’ expectations;
Yeah, they sound darn simple. And that’s how we should live our life.
All wise philosophers led a simple life back when they were alive.
So why do we want to complicate our own?
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