Simple Stoic Advice

Photo by Umesh Soni on Unsplash

The beautiful thing about Stoic philosophy is the advice contained within it is just as applicable today as it was when it was first written all those many years ago. We can learn a great deal from interpreting the advice provided and using it to our advantage as we go throughout our own lives.

Today’s quote comes to us courtesy of Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 2.8:


“Ignoring what goes on in other people’s souls — no one ever came to grief that way. But if you won’t keep track of what your own soul’s doing, how can you not be unhappy?”


More often than not, we care about what other people’s opinions of us are. In evolutionary psychology, this probably goes back to the fact that we require the assistance of others for survival. When we were first hunters and gatherers, we required the assistance of our entire tribe to survive.

But as societies have grown, more individuals have been added to our “tribes.” And with the invention of social media, we have the ability to grow these “tribes” into online platforms. We are now constantly on display for others to see.

The problem is that while the world has grown ever more complex, our mind has not exactly adapted to the changing environments. Thus, we still are much about other’s opinions of us.

But the Stoics taught that while it is important to remember we are all connected and need each other, we should not allow the opinions of others to dictate our own lives.

Our goal in life is to fulfill our potential. It is beneficial to have a mentor or someone who can help guide us. This is different than allowing everyone else to provide their opinion and have it guide us. We must be selective with what we do and do not accept of people’s opinions.

Ultimately, it is up to us to know what we wish to pursue in life, what will help us achieve our potential. Listen to yourself and be careful of whose opinion we accept.

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