The First Two Things Before Acting

Today’s Daily Stoic Meditation outlines that, before you act, you must carefully consider two key things;

  1. How can you stop yourself from getting worked up?
  2. What exactly is the task at hand?

You must prevent yourself from getting worked up, while simultaneously seeing the task at hand objectively and getting on with it.

Photograph by Pixabay on Pexels.

“The first thing to do — don’t get worked up. For everything happens according to the nature of all things, and in a short time you’ll be nobody and nowhere, even as the great emperors Hadrian and Augustus are now. The next thing to do — consider carefully the task at hand for what it is, while remembering that your purpose is to be a good human being. Get straight to doing what nature requires of you, and speak as you see most just and fitting — with kindness, modesty, and sincerity.”

— MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.5

Getting Worked Up

First, Marcus outlines that the very first thing to do before acting is to not get worked up.

Not getting worked up, in any situation, is imperative.

Being able to keep a cool head on your shoulders is powerful.

What?

Getting worked up simply means to make yourself nervous, jittery, perhaps even anxious or frustrated.

This sensation often arrives just before a big responsibility or a big moment.

However, you can also get worked up due to others: if somebody is pushing your buttons, you may overflow with frustration.

However you get worked up, it is important that you work to combat it!

The Risks?

There are many great risks that come with letting your emotions control you in such a negative way!

Risks such as;

  • Losing friends
  • Becoming upset
  • Becoming even more frustrated
  • Being on edge and tense
  • Regret and remorse

When you let your emotions win and get worked up, there’s no way you can truly live.

You’ll struggle to complete the task at hand due to lack of focus and efficiency!

Action Points

There’s a great deal of ways you can prevent getting worked up.

There are practical ways, such as;

  • Meditation
  • Breathing
  • Stepping away from the situation
  • Reaffirming positive mantras

However you do it, ensure that you consistently work on it.

Getting worked up can be fatal in many situations. It is your responsibility to fight against that and keep a calm head at all times!

The Task At Hand

Marcus further outlines the second thing you need to consider before taking action.

If you don’t consider this, real progress & true work would be a great struggle.

Marcus advises you to figure out what the task at hand actually is.

Objectively, you need to know what you’re doing and what is demanded of you.

Further, with all this, you need to remember your purpose too; to do good in all situations.

Looking Objectively

When figuring out what the task at hand requires from you, it is best to look entirely objectively.

Looking objectively is seeing things as they are. It is not adding emotions or judgements, but it is simply observing. It is seeing what is right in front of you!

Objectivity is key to the stoics, for it enables them to be clear and rational in all aspects of life.

You must cultivate a sixth sense for objectivity.

It is no good seeing things in a cloudy lens!

Even if the truth is painful, even if the true gravity of the task is looming, you must see it for exactly what it is and nothing else.

Objectivity enables you to tackle the task head on, in the right way.

Remember Your Purpose

Marcus also outlines the importance of remembering your purpose in life, as a human.

Not just when faced with action, but in any situation whatsoever.

Your purpose is simply to be good and choose good.

In any situation, you must prioritise good.

As Marcus says,

“Stop talking about what a good man is like, and just be one.”

This is your role in life. To be good.

When it comes to the task in front of you, go into it with good natured notions.

Do what nature requires of you as you see most fitting!

These are the keys to action.

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Sam M

Sam M

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happiness in all areas of life. student 👨🏻‍🎓. 2 weekly newsletters, daily stoic meditations + occasional articles and book summaries.