“A person who doesn’t know what the universe is, doesn’t know where they are. A person who doesn’t know their purpose in life doesn’t know who they are or what the universe is. A person who doesn’t know any of these things doesn’t know why they are here. So what to make of people who seek or avoid the praise of those who have no knowledge of where or who they are?” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 8.52
Author Simon Sinek, in his famous TED Talk and in his book ‘Start with why’, talks about the fact that most people know what they are doing, some people know how to do that thing, and only very few people know actually why they are doing whatever they are doing. And that is an important question to ask ourselves. We must ask ourselves these deep and tough questions about what, how, where, and why of the things we spend our time on. And we must really ask ourselves these questions and really think about the answer. And when I say think, I don’t mean thinking of the superficial kind, but deep thinking that is almost as if we are meditating on the answer like Marcus Aurelius himself. Knowing the answer to these questions will make things clearer in our heads and we will be able to focus more on solving the problems. As Simon Sinek would tell us, we really should “start with why”.
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.