Marcus Aurelius – Roman Emperor (161 – 180 CE)
“If anyone can refute me, show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective – I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I ‘m after, and the truth never harmed anyone.”
“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.”
Epictetus – Philosopher (50 – 135 AD)
“If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, they were ignorant of my other faults, else he would have not mentioned these alone.”
Marcus and Epictetus were both practitioners of a school of philosophy called Stoicism. Stoics were masters of daily retrospectives, where they would critically evaluate how well they showed up each day.
To complete an evening retrospective, the Stoics would ask questions similar to these:
How did I stray away from serenity
How was I unfriendly, uncaring and unsocial to others
What did I fail in
What bad habits did I curb
How am I better today, than I was yesterday
We’re my actions just
What can I do to improve
This type of detailed, challenging self reflection helps to keep them accountable to their goals. Remain focused on improving. Identify lessons from the day and gives the author new ways of working the following day.
In a recent article for ‘The Shaker‘, I take this idea of the personal retrospective and show how it applies in the world of business specifically, how we can use these old ways of thinking in today’s new ways of working.
Rock and Roll
PS. What’s the one thing you don’t do, that would cause the most positive change in your life?