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I am always interested in concepts and strategies to improve performance and wellbeing. I fully subscribe to the power of the MTQ48 mental toughness framework and therefore was incredibly interested to learn of the Stoic philosophy adopted by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was the last of the “five good emperors” of Rome before its eventual decline and fall, ruling the Roman Empire for 19 years, between 161 and 180 AD.

Much like mental toughness, the approach adopted by Marcus Aurelius and the Stoics is practical and ideal for the real world. Its focus is about becoming a happier person enabling you to:

  • better able to manage everyday problems and obstacles
  • practice misfortune to become stronger in the face of adversity
  • turn problems into opportunities
  • control your emotions and ego.

It teaches how to be mentally strong and in control with tips and techniques for living a good life.

There are hundreds of recorded sayings and quotes by Marcus Aurelius from his famous work Meditations and I have included the 12 that resonate most with me below:

  1. The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.
  2. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
  3. I am going to be meeting with people today who talk too much – people who are selfish, egotistical, ungrateful. But I won’t be surprised or disturbed, for I can’t imagine a world without such people.
  4. He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.
  5. You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.
  6. Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
  7. Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.
  8. Do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life.
  9. Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask the following question ‘what fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticise?’
  10. Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
  11. Our anger and annoyance are more detrimental to us than the things themselves which anger or annoy us.
  12. Ask ‘what is so unbearable about this situation? Why can’t you endure it?’ You will be embarrassed to answer.