Before Taking Action

“The first thing to do — don’t get worked up. For everything happens according to the nature of all things, and in a short time you’ll be nobody and nowhere, even as the great emperors Hadrian and Augustus are now. The next thing to do — consider carefully the task at hand for what it is, while remembering that your purpose is to be a good human being. Get straight to doing what nature requires of you, and speak as you see most just and fitting — with kindness, modesty, and sincerity.”


Today in The Daily Stoic we are presented with two things we should do before taking any action in response to an external event.

The first step is to stay calm. “Don’t get worked up,” Marcus says. Don’t let your emotions run away with you. Instead, keep things surface-level until you have more information and can think clearly. Wait until the dust has settled, and remember not to get mad at the situation — which, of course, is out of your control.

After the calmness you have gained comes the second step, which is actually very simple: just do the next right thing. Trust in what you’ve learned and studied, and put it into practice. Do what you know to be right. When the time comes to put stoic principles into action, you must have the bravery and the prescience to actually do it!

And that’s it. Stay calm, and do the right thing. These are the two steps you must do before taking action.

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