Change The World Through Thought: Lessons We Can Take From An Ancient Roman Emperor

by Sopheap Dam

Caesar Marcus Aurelius was one of the most influential human beings to ever walk this Earth. He was a Roman Emperor from the year 161 to 180 and is also the last of the “Five Good Emperors.”

Furthermore, he was a stoic philosopher. One can only imagine what it would have been like to rule the most powerful empire in the world during that time and to do so with elegance and poise.

Stoicism was Aurelius’ driving force throughout his life. In short, stoicism is a philosophy that prioritizes finding inner peace when the outside world causes disarray of ones emotions, which in turn, leads a person to make emotional decisions.

With practice, external factors become easily distinguishable. This helps us to determine our reactions in accordance with harmony and personal principles.

Indubitably, Aurelius' thoughts on stoicism spilled over into his political responsibilities as a Roman Emperor. His successes are in line with his thoughts that shaped history and led to the world in which we live today.

If it’s good enough for Aurelius, it’s good enough for me. Here is a list of quotes from Marcus Aurelius worthy of reflection for gaining a knowledgeable perspective on how to change the world through thought.

“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

We’ve all tried to control outcomes, people and our destinies, but in the long run, things rarely transpire how we intend. How many times can you try the same thing and expect different results?

Regardless of outside events, the only person you can hold accountable is yourself. Harnessing your inner power is the greatest concentrated power you will ever have.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

Our minds are truly works of art. The sooner you realize this, the more beautiful the world will be to you. The quicker your mind is conditioned to knowing your own truth, the quicker you can move forward from negative information.

“Accept the things to which fate binds you and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”

You can't stop time or the future from happening. However, life isn’t always so serious. In fact, the less serious it is, the more enjoyable it will likely be. Life is meant to be enjoyed and fate plays a part in this. Don’t ignore the cosmic meetings; embrace them because nothing in this world is arbitrary.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”

This one is so simple that it might seem complicated. With our busy schedules and bills to pay, it can be tough to savor the moments that make up your life. However, time does not wait, so do not waste it.

Make things happen. Start now.

“Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell and you can foresee the future, too.”

History repeats itself and after countless deaths around the world, we still haven’t figured this out. In fact, we directly contribute to the problem by doing nothing to fix it.

Ignorance isn’t always the adversary, but it has a part in the destruction. Be the force that understands this and know you did everything you could to spark positive change.

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

Life is a gift. The scientific world can attest to the nature of our beings and conclude that we are truly special creations. Let's use our gifts to make this world a better place.

Photo via We Heart It