In times of crisis and upheaval, it is always good to look at what you can control compared to what you cannot. It pays to look at the fundamentals again to set the foundations of your life as secure as possible. As the great political strategist and opportunist of the 1500s, Niccolò Machiavelli is quoted as writing, "Never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis." One of the critical foundations is looking after the money we earn and use it for its maximum results. These principles are easy to implement and easy to forget, so a good reminder, is always worthwhile. Like a drifting boat, it is incredible how far you can travel when you're not paying attention. So here we go.
There are quite simple acts of courage occurring every day. In many ways, we are surrounded by them, often without our knowledge and often in ourselves. They are not the acts that receive the media attention or any attention at all in many cases. Yet they dip into the same human well all great hero’s bathe. What acts of courage have you missed, perhaps in your own life? What acts of courage are you called to perform today?
Either by choice or our cultural environment, this time of year, we look back at the last year and look forward to the next. We start to think about how we would like next year to be different, better, and our lives to be improved. We will make a list either on paper or at least mentally in our heads, of the things we want to look back on in twelve months and be pleased. However, we will also be aware that by the third week of January, for many, those resolutions will already be assigned to the dust bin of history. If those resolutions are built on sound foundations, not only do you increase the chance of success, but you will have foundations that will last a lifetime.
Yesterday, at 5pm, my mother's cousin died aged ninety-one. With only three days to Christmas, it is a reminder that no matter how much we like to imagine, we only have so many celebrations and family gatherings allotted to us. Let us remember to make it a good one.
“He who remains silent is deemed to have granted his consent — or so the old tenet goes. So will we remain silent, or will we speak up loud and clear and truthfully?”
When we watch a movie about a hero who stands up to authority and puts it all on the line to create a better life, we all imagine that we are that hero. But, unfortunately, history shows that, more likely, we will fall short of that mark.
Over the last couple of years, it has been easy for us to focus on all the things we cannot or are unable to do; yet we have all lived each of those days, and what we have done with them can still bring us joy. They can remind us of what is essential to living a good life.
On January the 1st, 2017, I sat down to read the first page of The Daily Stoic. A book that features 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living. The first day held a quote that summarised everything I’d learnt in the previous twenty-five years. So simple, powerful yet can change a life, The ideas written nearly 2000 years ago contained inside are helpful at any time, but now more than ever - Enjoy.
Many quotes from famous thinkers have been splashed on the internet and social media in the current cultural landscape of vaccinations and pandemics and ensuring economic upheaval. They have been used as verbal grenades to lob at the other side in arguments that have been polarised into straightforward black and white world views. Yet my history shows - it is all too easy to neglect the substance of the quote and its equal vitality to our viewpoint. What is the quote that changed my life and could you use it too?
For any building, the foundations can take the longest to build, but if faulty, they will cause the greatest problems. So it is with life. How do we work out what foundations we have to play with and build strong foundations that will last a lifetime?