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.
“For I believe a good king is from the outset and by necessity a philosopher, and the philosopher is from the outset a kingly person.”
—MUSONIUS RUFUS, LECTURES, 8.33.32–34
If you are going to be a leader, it’s important to be a good one. I was a squad leader in combat and an artillery section chief in peacetime. I always tried to help my subordinates but never coddled them. It works the same way being a father and husband. Even before I learned about Stoicism, I try to be a fair leader and follow guiding principles to do this.
“Love the humble art you have learned, and take rest in it. Pass through the remainder of your days as one who whole-heartedly entrusts all possessions to the gods, making yourself neither a tyrant nor a slave to any person.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 4.31
I try to be good at my job, it’s easy to be an inspector using my 13 years of experience in communications. I am also a good carpenter and mechanic, and can usually figure out electric or plumbing problems in the house. I figure with this base of skills, if I lose my job, even if the economy really crashes, I will survive. It also gives me a level of freedom not feeling like my job is my only option to make a living. It might be the easiest and most lucrative way, but not the only one.
“But what does Socrates say? ‘Just as one person delights in improving his farm, and another his horse, so I delight in attending to my own improvement day by day.’”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.5.14
I enjoy working on my truck. I also enjoy working out, even though it’s harder to get in shape than stay in shape and at 50, recovery is much slower than I remember. I am learning to enjoy challenging myself without getting angry. My tappet cover was leaking after I fixed it last year and reinstalling it was very frustrating. It was 90 degrees and humid, the o-ring kept moving and I could not get it to line up without sliding, which would move the o-ring again. Unbeknownst to me, my wife was watching as I struggled with it and had to climb off the topside creeper to collect my thoughts. She told me later she could tell I was frustrated, and she was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t yell or throw anything. Progress!
“In your actions, don’t procrastinate. In your conversations, don’t confuse. In your thoughts, don’t wander. In your soul, don’t be passive or aggressive. In your life, don’t be all about business.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.51
I struggle with procrastination. Especially when I work from home. I am good at not confusing people with conversations, but sometimes it is good to let your thoughts wander, and there are situations where aggression is called for. The key is to know when and realize it’s not as often as I think.
“One person, on doing well by others, immediately accounts the expected favor in return. Another is not so quick, but still considers the person a debtor and knows the favor. A third kind of person acts as if not conscious of the deed, rather like a vine producing a cluster of grapes without making further demands,
like a horse after its race, or a dog after its walk, or a bee after making its honey. Such a person, having done a good deed, won’t go shouting from rooftops but simply moves on to the next deed just like the vine produces another bunch of grapes in the right season.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 5.6
I always try to be the third person. I have helped out quite a few people and don’t expect repayment. Many of the people I’ve helped were strangers having car trouble. Hopefully that encouraged them to be more helpful, but if not, I did my job in that particular circumstance.
“Every great power is dangerous for the beginner. You must therefore wield them as you are able, but in harmony with nature.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.13.20
A little knowledge can be dangerous. If I overextend myself on any wiring or plumbing jobs using my scant experience, a big disaster could follow. The same with philosophy, if I think I know more than I really do and handle a situation with my wife badly, telling her to calm down might not work.
When you’ve done well and another has benefited by it, why like a fool do you look for a third thing on top—credit for the good deed or a favor in return?”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 7.73
This ties in with July 13th’s lesson. I have been on the other side of this, a friend of my wife helped us out and never let her forget it. It soon felt as though the favor she did for us was not worth the constant reminders and asking us for favors that well out paced what she did for us. I will never be that person. If I can help, I am happy to do so and I don’t care about repayment or being owed a favor in return. My kids know this. One night a friend of my son called him and said his battery was dead. Without asking me, my son volunteered me to go and jump his car. After I got the car running, the kid offered $20 for our time. My son said, “Don’t worry about it, use the money to fix your car, so you won’t call us for this again”.
Damn I am old, 30 years ago on July 7th Dream Theater released Images and Words.
When I first heard Pull Me Under I was blown away.
Under a Glass Moon is a rockin’ tune.
Something a little softer, Wait for Sleep
They are one of my favorite bands, although their last couple albums don’t do it for me.