Marcus Aurelius had an interesting metaphor. He believed that a man, an emperor, a soldier—everyone—was like a rock. Throw the rock up in the air, he said, and “it loses nothing by coming down and gained nothing by going up.” The rock stays the same.
We can imagine his own life mirror this analogy. He was an ordinary man plucked by Hadrian to become emperor. Yet he could have been equally dethroned at any moment as well (and late in his reign nearly was). Did this change who Marcus was? Did it mean he was better or worse than other people?
No. He was still the same rock. And so are you. Whether you have a day that begins with a promotion or ends with a firing, you’re the same. Whether you win the lottery or file for bankruptcy. Whether you address a crowd of thousands or have trouble getting your calls returned.
You’re the same. Success or failure, highs and lows, they don’t change you. They are outside you. These are indifferents. You stay the same.
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