If you have anger issues, this one is a great tool, H/T mindyourbusiness:
Disclaimer: I’m not your Supervisor. These are my opinions after reading through these books a few times.
“Why then are we offended? Why do we complain? This is what we’re here for.”
—SENECA, ON PROVIDENCE, 5.7b–8
How do I get stronger? By picking up heavy things and putting them down. How do I improve my temperament? By dealing with small setbacks while keeping control of anger, and using those lessons on larger ones. I am learning to enjoy challenges because they improve me, if I do what I am here for and don’t get offended and complain about it.
“We cry to God Almighty, how can we escape this agony? Fool, don’t you have hands? Or could it be God forgot to give you a pair? Sit and pray your nose doesn’t run! Or, rather just wipe your nose and stop seeking a scapegoat.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 2.16.13
My wife is religious, I am not. I never saw any use in praying for miracles. Her friend prayed when she locked her keys in the car, and then called a locksmith. My wife told me this later and didn’t appreciate my comment that the second step was much more productive. My wife prayed for my recovery, which I appreciated, but the work I’ve done to get back in shape seems to provide better results. I don’t think praying hurts, but it is important to take action and control what you can.
“Think of those who, not by fault of inconsistency but by lack of effort, are too unstable to live as they wish, but only live as they have begun.”
—SENECA, ON TRANQUILITY OF MIND, 2.6b
Bad things happen, but I have seen people create their own bad circumstances and seem to have no desire to get away from them. My dad was a lazy dishonest person that talked a good game. His sister was the same sort. Our cousins all grew up to be dirt bags on welfare, while my brothers and I resolved to do the opposite. All of us are doing fine and have all been married for a long time. Not that we didn’t have rough patches, but we had the determination to work through them, while my cousins seemed to give up if things didn’t work out for them.
“We like to say that we don’t get to choose our parents, that they were given by chance—yet we can truly choose whose children we’d like to be.”
—SENECA, ON THE BREVITY OF LIFE, 15.3a
Who do I respect and who have I learned from? I learned from my dad how not to be, but I learned from my step dad how to earn respect and be painfully honest. I also learned from quite a few of my Marine Corps section chiefs and platoon sergeants, both positive and negative examples. My first big influence was Louis L’Amour books. As an unhappy 12 year old, I found his books and I think I read all of them. I didn’t realize until later how much of an influence they were. Now I am learning from long dead Roman philosophers. It doesn’t matter who you learn from, it matters what you learn.
“You must build up your life action by action, and be content if each one achieves its goal as far as possible—and no one can keep you from this. But there will be some external obstacle! Perhaps, but no obstacle to acting with justice, self-control, and wisdom. But what if some other area of my action is thwarted? Well, gladly accept the obstacle for what it is and shift your attention to what is
given, and another action will immediately take its place, one that better fits the life you are building.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.32
My life is based on a foundation of my family. This is solid because my wife and I both do things to keep it that way. My job is based on my foundation of knowledge and a good work ethic. I have had external problems, but have never been unemployed for more than a week or two since I left home. When I lost one job, I was able to get another one. When one job wasn’t providing the opportunities or pay I felt that I was earning, I kept working there until I found something else. My wife was stunned when she found out a few years later how much I hated working there. I never complained to her, that seemed counter productive.
“There is no vice which lacks a defense, none that at the outset isn’t modest and easily intervened—but after this the trouble spreads widely. If you allow it to get started you won’t be able to control when it stops. Every emotion is at first weak. Later it rouses itself and gathers strength as it moves along—it’s easier to slow it down than to supplant it.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 106.2b–3a
When I am aware of my mindset and catch the anger early, it is easy to laugh at myself and control it. When I am not paying attention and let my anger build. It is much harder to reign in. Then I have to take a deep breath, maybe walk away for a while, sometimes I have to stop doing what I was working on all together. Getting better at this, but sometimes it feels like the anger sneaks up on me.
“If you find something very difficult to achieve yourself, don’t imagine it impossible—for anything possible and proper for another person can be achieved as easily by you.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 6.19
I am working to improve my internal reactions and get back in shape. I know even at 50 it’s possible to do these things. I see other old guys at the gym and I know, if they can do it, so can I. Same with fixing up my truck. It seemed pretty daunting at the outset, but I watched YouTube videos and knew it was possible to do it in the garage.
I will be on a ship most of the day Friday, but I hope you enjoy this:
It’s Dave Lombardo’s band after leaving Slayer. He is a god among men when it comes to drumming. The double bass drums when the singer hits HEAVEN are amazing.
Savage Seas (Retribution)