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Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism

It has been awhile since my last post, but not because life has been boring. Several weeks, ago, Anita came across a reference to Marcus Aurelius and his fascination for the Greek philosophy of Stoicism. Marcus Aurelius was the “Last of the Good Emperors” of Rome (speaking of his wisdom) who ruled from 161-180 A.D. His name sticks out in my mind, because he was featured in the movie “Gladiator” (featuring Russell Crowe as Maximus and Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius. Stoicism’s meaning in the contemporary, common usage is to have control over emotion when faced with a tough challenge. Marcus Aurelius expands far beyond this with his writings in “Meditations.”

So, the fuller treatment of Stoicism includes a tool-bag of mental constructs that starts with control over emotions and then uses the challenging situations for learning, growth and increasing capabilities. The philosophy is familiar in terms of my “Calling” and career with regard to leadership development, strategic and contingency planning, and productivity systems analysis. The crux of the approach is very succinctly described in Ryan Holiday’s book – “The Obstacle is the Way.”  We have applying the principles in our lives with regard to our twin challenges as Expats and an extended family enterprise.

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