“Take a good hard look at people’s ruling principle, especially of the wise, what they run away from and what they seek out.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.38
Recently, I have been watching “The Last Dance”, the amazing Netflix documentary on Michael Jordan. His insane ambition, drive and work ethic fuel motivation and inspiration. But looking through his life and all the games that he played, it is quite easy to see his ruling principle that drove him to give his maximum. His central philosophy that guided his actions, in victory as well as in defeat, was that he must play the game at the highest level and he must give it everything he had. And he expected the same level of commitment from all his teammates because they had chosen to play with him. And according to him, when you play, you just play to win. And winning takes real grit and commitment and a strong work ethic. The same was true for the Stoics in ancient Rome and the same is true for all the entrepreneurs and athletes that we admire. Perhaps that is why it is important to have role models. Not to idolize them and put them up on a pedestal, but to look at their lives, actions, and philosophies, and learn what drove them toward good and success, and what they did to stay away from evil and failure. We can only be as good as the things we learn, and we must learn from the wise — what they run away from and what they seek.
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.