Just Do It — My Stoic Musings 029

“At every moment keep a sturdy mind on the task at hand, as a Roman and human being, doing it with strict and simple dignity, affection…

“At every moment keep a sturdy mind on the task at hand, as a Roman and human being, doing it with strict and simple dignity, affection, freedom, and justice — giving yourself a break from all other considerations. You can do this if you approach each task as if it is your last, giving up every distraction, emotional subversion of reason, and all drama, vanity, and complaint over your fair share. You can see how mastery over a few things makes it possible to live an abundant and devout life — for, if you keep watch over these things, the gods won’t ask for more.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.5

You can watch hundreds of Youtube videos, and read hundreds of articles and books on productivity and self-help, but still the best advice you will ever find is by Nike — Just do it. It is just that simple. The Stoics, of course, have a similar but more elaborate version of this. Marcus Aurelius reminds us to forget reminiscing about the past and to stop worrying about the future and simply focus on the present. And even in the present, forget about the obstacles that lie in your path later in the day. Just focus on the singular task at hand at this moment. Just do the one thing that you are supposed to do at this moment and do it well. Do it with dignity and ignore the distractions. It is just that simple — focus on the one thing at this moment and repeat that for every moment in your life.


This article is a part of my Stoic Musings challenge, inspired by the book “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, where I take a quote from the book and reflect on it, every day.