Day 1,673 – Thankful for Yet Another Quote From Marcus Aurelius & Exercises of Forced Scarcity

Earlier today I read a quote from Marcus Aurelius that just seemed to fit my thought process perfectly today. Coincidentally, today marks what would have been the 1,900th birthday of the Roman emperor and the author of an incredible collection of Stoic thoughts.

Through my several reads of Meditations I’ve learned many things. One of the is that there are certain lines and chapters that hit home more than others depending on my state of mind, recent experiences, and many other variables. One of the reasons I so thoroughly enjoy reading it is due in large part to finding meaning in something I’d otherwise missed in past readings.

The quote today was quite catching based on my thoughts.

The things you think about determines the quality of your mind.

Your soul takes on the the color of your thoughts.

Marcus Aurelius

As I work closer and closer to the conclusion of another huge dream there was a specific task I had to complete. The core of the project included narrowing down a small number of values and lessons learned. I was forced to cull a herd of well over several dozen ideas and distill them into a manageable number of themes.

This forced scarcity exercise took me much longer than I care to admit. Eliminating something can be so difficult, especially when it is a topic so near and dear to me. As I struggled through it I found myself making lists upon lists only to toss them aside as they weren’t quite right.

The clock ticked towards the deadline and I finally decided to let go and focus my mind elsewhere. Once I did all the ideas seemed to stitch themselves together into an incredibly neat, tidy, and cohesive whole. While I stumbled and fumbled so many thoughts in my waking mind some other part of my deeper mind slowly put the pieces together.

What I’m most thankful for about this project was the forced scarcity. Did I seriously need to cut down the list to that small of a size in that short of a time? Of course not, it was a construct of my own making. But by forcing the mindset of scarcity I was able to focus, take action, and put all the pieces together to lead to the breakthrough moment.


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