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What you can learn from Marcus Aurelius

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Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was Roman emperor between 161 to 180 A.D. and a famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. 

The Stoics would reflect on traits like wisdom, patience and self-discipline to build resilience while facing adversity.

They found a way to wellbeing through being present and not allowing external factors to take control.

Through his extensive training in Stoicism, Aurelius taught himself to face death with the steady calm of someone who has done so countless times before.

“What virtue has nature given me to deal with this situation?”
– Aurelius

Living through the current pandemic, we can relate to his words.

So, how can we transfer his knowledge into our lives?

Aurelius encourages us to exemplify our virtues and bring them to bear on the challenges we face in daily life. 

Resilience is such a virtue. Make no mistake, resilience is less a trait that someone naturally possesses and more a skill anyone can build through thoughts, behaviours, habits and actions.

Stoicism – the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.

By drawing upon our own experiences, we can learn from our adversity and allow it to make us stronger when faced with a challenge.  

At Resilience Builders we call these experiences ‘reference points’; an experience good or bad that we can learn and find inner-strength from.

We each possess enough resilience to cope, even in a pandemic and its inevitable impacts. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. But it’s in you.

Today, stoicism isn’t about suffering in silence. It’s understanding what’s in your control and acting on it. It’s a determination to not allow your situation to defeat you. It’s an act of courage.

Take a moment to think about the experiences you’ve had that will help you cope with whatever challenge you face today.

What was it that you’ve been through that you can now say ‘I got through that so I can get through this.’

“It’s not events that upset us but rather our opinions about them.”
– Epictetus

David Buttifant is a Doctor in Exercise Physiology and director of Resilience Builders.

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