You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. – Marcus Aurelius
What does that mean?
This quote is about finding a fundamental truth of life. While many quotes focus on happiness coming from within, this covers the rest of the game, as we live in our mind.
We are the only one with power over our mind. Yes, we can fail to apply that power, and allow it to drift with the forces of the day. That can lead some to believe that the outside world and outside events have power over our minds.
But it isn’t true. The outside world can apply pressure, but we make the decisions about what we will do. We will chose to yield or oppose, or to find another way. There will always be a price to pay, but that is part of living.
Once we recognize that we are the only ones with the power to change our minds, we will find that it provides us with great strength. With that simple realization, we gain the strength to face the next challenge, and to choose what we will.
Why is strength of will important?
You have probably met a person with very little will-power. If you ask them, or even tell them, to do something, they do it. Where is their strength? Where is their will power? They have very little, and they allow outside events to sway their mind.
On the other hand, we have the people who simply must have their way. Their mind is made up, don’t try to dissuade them with the facts or reality! Nothing will stand in their way. Until they crash. Not a very pretty sight, but these people exist, and often fail to learn from their experiences.
Somewhere between being a leaf on the wind and a log fort there is some middle ground. We can allow some things to influence us, and still stand firmly against others. It just takes some strength of will to select our own path, whether it is against the pressure of events or with them.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Strength of mind, or will power, is something which usually only comes with practice. The first time you feel outside pressure to do something, you conform. That starts as a baby. Then come the Terrible Twos, as the baby starts to apply their will power.
Similarly, in the teenage years (and a few times in-between) there are additional expressions of strength and of will. Some are a bit more forceful than others, while a few are so weak that we wonder if it happened at all.
Again, the middle ground is usually the best place to be. Neither going with the flow all the time, with no strength or will, nor always going against the flow, in a knee-jerk contrarian show of strength and will.
Sometimes, a choice really doesn’t matter to us. One way or the other, both are fine. That’s something even the strong and strongly willed can allow to go either way. There is a difference between weakness and ambivalence, and that is something to think about.
What is important is to realize that you have a choice. Once you have that down, you’re half way there. Now comes the hard part, the thinking. To make it work, you have to find out the facts, analyze them, and compare them to your values and then decide.
Once a decision has been made, you need to find your strength, and use your will-power to stick to it, even in the face of unfavorable outside forces. It’s just that easy, right? Not really. While everyone starts with a different level of strength, it can be built up.
What if you aren’t all that strong yet? Strength will come with practice. Hold out as long as you can, and then try a little harder. You might succeed, and you might not. Learn from the experience, and gain some strength and increase your will-power.
Use your values and your beliefs to help you keep your strength. Your reason why is an anchor to which your strength can attach itself. The stronger your conviction, the easier it is to be strong, to retain power over your mind, and to defy the outside forces.
It is rare that something will be easy on the first try. But if you keep trying, learning from each new experience, you will grow stronger. It may take some time, but persevere. You will get there if you just keep going.
All you have to do is use the power you have over your mind and decide to not quit.
From: Twitter, @PhilosophyQuotz
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/marcus_aurelius.html
Photo by Shawn Thomas