Friday, May 30, 2014


Life is a struggle. At every turn you contend with forces that oppose you. In order to live, you must overcome these forces.

As Marcus Aurelius put it, "The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing."

Every day is a contest pitting you against opponents seen and unseen, known and unknown. You grapple with people, contend with natural forces, combat sickness and disease, and struggle to master your thoughts and emotions.

The forces swirling around you are largely out of your control and inconsiderate to your wants and needs. In all the chaos of life, only one thing is completely within your custody: your mind.

Luckily for you, it is the only thing you need.

"The mind," as John Milton said, "is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."

The carpenter has his hammer, chisel, and saw; with these he hews the wood and bends it to his will. Your mind is your tool box. The tools of your trade are stored in it: the skills, talents, ideas, knowledge, and relationships you have cultivated during your time on this earth.

Your toolbox is unique. No one else has the same combination of tools as you. The solution to every challenge you face, every task you tackle, and every obstacle barring your path resides with you.

There is no useless trivia, no obsolete skill. Every tool at your disposal serves a purpose: you need only find a way to employ it in your favor.

If you remember this and keep a detailed inventory of the tools in your possession, you will find that "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters when compared to what lies within us."