wisdom to win

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Marcus Aurelius - Philosophy and HappinessMarcus Aurelius - Philosophy and Happiness


Marcus Aurelius (121-180)


Philosopher (pictured right) and Roman emperor (from 161 to his death).  


His most famous book is...

Meditations, written throughout his life, that contains his personal thoughts and ideas.


His tips on happiness

 Marcus Aurelius - Philosophy and Happiness

1. Do something useful now!

Live each day as if it were your last, because life is short.

Don’t look at what other people are doing, just do something yourself.


2. Never lose your self-respect

Live by your principles: be kind, honest, fair, self-disciplined and courageous.

Be good, but remember when you aren’t, so that you can do better next time!

 Marcus Aurelius - Philosophy and Happiness

3. Love

Love other people and be fair to them, even those who do you wrong.

Think well of people, and tell yourself they do wrong, because they don’t know any better.

Everybody and everything in the world is interconnected (he called this “unity made up of multiplicity”).

We are all human beings, and so we should all be friends.

 Marcus Aurelius - Philosophy and Happiness

4. Think positively

Think of solutions to your problems, not the reasons why you can’t do something.

Face your difficulties with courage and resolution, and try to turn them into opportunities to do something good.


5. Challenge yourself

Do something for the right reasons, asking yourself why you are doing it.

Be ambitious. “If something is humanly possible, consider it to be within your reach”, he said.

But be realistic about what you can achieve

“To pursue the unattainable is insanity”, he advised.

 Marcus Aurelius - Philosophy and Happiness

6. Find peace of mind


  • Don’t try to do too many things.
  • Self-respect (see point 2).
  • Reflect quietly on your faults, so you can do something about them.
  • Don’t worship fame and fortune, because they can disappear very quickly.
  • Be happy with what you’ve got.
  • Don’t be bitter about the bad things that happen to you.


7. Cope with constant change

Life constantly changes.

“Time is a sort of river of passing events and strong is its current”, he said.

Don’t be afraid to change, because it won’t be as painful as you think.

“Never let the future, disturb you”, he advised.

Persuade people to change, if possible, but you may have to force them sometimes, particularly to obey an important principle like fairness or love.


8. Learn continuouslyMarcus Aurelius - Philosophy and Happiness



a) reflection and analysis

In any action work out its advantages and disadvantages based on all the relevant facts.


b)  observe people

Learn from their wisdom and mistakes.


c) question everything

“If we begin with doubts, and are patient, we shall end in certainties”, he said.


d) avoid arrogance

Don’t think you know everything: accept modestly, surrender gracefully.


e) look at the whole problem

Don’t just find a solution to part of it.

 Marcus Aurelius - Philosophy and Happiness

9. Understand people

  • listen to what they say.
  • put yourself in their shoes (try your best to enter into the mind of the speaker)
  • be tolerant of their views and mistakes.
  • don’t be misled by first impressions
  • work hard to understand others more deeply.
  • stick to what is the right thing to do (but be gentle towards those who try to stop you).

 Marcus Aurelius - Philosophy and Happiness

10. Be brave

Like Seneca (pictured right), Marcus Aurelius was a Stoic philosopher, who believed in calmly enduring life’s problems with physical and moral courage.


Key quotes on positive thinking

Our life is what our thoughts make it.

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive.


Key quotes on happiness

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

Be content with what you are.


Key quote on the past, present and future

Never let the future disturb you.


Key quote on success

Do every act of your life as if it were your last.


Key quote on society

Poverty is the mother of crime.


Key quote on influencing people

The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.


Key quote on wisdom

To the wise, life is a problem; to the fool, a solution.


Key quote on peace of mind

Look deeply. Do not miss the inherent quality and value of everything.


Key quote on love

Men exist for the sake of one another.


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