The Fantastic Life

It’s Possible to Not Have an Opinion

I have been working on a quote for a while. So I thought I would write about it. “It’s possible to not have an opinion” -Marcus Aurelius. In today’s world, everyone has an opinion on everything (including me). AND I simply do not need to do that. Nor do you.

Here is how I’m working on this idea:

Think before you speak or have a reaction. Here is a great formula of this:  E+R=O is  Event + Reaction = Outcome and it is from Brian Kight:

Sometimes when you are quiet and listen to other people you can learn more. This is a hard one for me but I am getting better….slowly.

More people should take the time for self-refection. Every year, I am doing more and more self-reflection.

Re-evaluate our auto responses in life. This is a good one. You don’t have to say the same thing on the same topic, do you, Craig?

I hope you find this message helpful for your life.

The Fantastic Life Rule # 4
Play Where You Can Win
Sometimes, you don’t have the information, experience, or expertise to join a conversation. And that’s okay. Play to your strengths. Discover the areas in which you can win and pursue them relentlessly. Everything else, allow to simply be.

Simple Stoic Advice
Is this necessary?

By: D.A. DiGerolamo

Photo by Reimond de Zuñiga 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 4.24:


“Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?” But we need to eliminate unnecessary assumptions as well. To the unnecessary actions that follow.”
A lot of what we say or do are natural reactions to the situation at hand. This can be thought of as automatic reactions. There are two different types of reactions at play.

Reaction 1 — The Automatic Response

Since birth, we have been creatures of observation. As a child, we watch our parents — how they act, react, and speak. We begin to mimic them as we grow older. We form friendships and watch how these individuals act in the world and we can begin to then follow their views or actions.

It is therefore natural that we will, from time to time, respond to situations or questions with a “stock” or preprogrammed response, something that we’ve said or done a thousand times when in the same situation.

For example, how many times have you seen a colleague and without even thinking you say, “Hi, how are you doing?” with the typical response being, “Good, and you?”

Reaction 2 — The Natural Biological Response

These automatic reactions appear and are our body’s natural reaction to a situation. They are innate to being human and no amount of wisdom or advice can change the reactions.

These are what we refer to today as proto-passions and are the beginning stages of emotions. Examples of bodily responses to a situation may be blushing when called upon, or sweating when having to give a public speech.

Donald J. Robertson, author of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, states:

“because these primitive emotional reactions are involuntary, they’re neither good nor bad according to Stoic ethics but indifferent… We’re not to be afraid of them or consider them to be bad or harmful in themselves but rather to accept them with indifference. They resemble the emotional reactions of non-human animals, which naturally abate over time.

The key, as Robertson explains, is to not be “swept” away by these involuntary reactions to external stimuli.

Our first task in life is to understand ourselves. What do we do? Why do we do it? This is learned through mindfulness and self-reflection.

We need to continually search ourselves for answers to what we have said or done. We need to attempt to limit these automatic responses (Response 1 above) and really think about what we’re saying and doing. What we say usually reveals more about what’s going on internally than not, so understanding what we’re doing and saying is key to understanding ourselves. From this, we learn what type of value-judgments we have at play.

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