As we discussed not too long ago, I recently had an epic party with some Stoics.
And, by party, I mean, I hung out with some of the world’s most brilliant Stoic thinkers by reading their awesome books. 🤓
We tend think of Stoic philosophers as emotionless automatons.
Why? Well, it’s easy to conflate our conception of the word “stoic” (with a lower-case “s”) with the actual Stoic (with a capital “S”) philosophers.
The reality is that Stoic philosophers (like Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius) didn’t have an issue with emotion per se. In fact, they valued the POSITIVE emotions. They just didn’t think it made a lot of sense to allow irrational thinking to create unnecessary NEGATIVE emotional experiences.
They were incredibly (!) committed to actually LIVING their ideals and striving to be Wise people embracing their cardinal virtues of Courage, Temperance and Justice.
Recall that, not too long ago, we talked about the fact that positive psychologists used those four virtues as the basis of their work (while adding “Humanity” and “Transcendence”).
We also talked about the fact that I see our core virtues as slight tweaks to the Stoic’s four: Wisdom + Self-Mastery (vs. “Temperance”) + Courage + Love (vs. “Justice”).
Today I want to talk a little more about the LOVE side of things.
Although our Stoic Sages aspired to live with “Justice” by treating people fairly, to use that word as one of their cardinal virtues feels a little too sterile to me. It doesn’t come close to capturing the true love with which they aspired to show up.
They were actually committed to WAY more than just “justice”/”fairness”/etc.
2,000 years ago, Musonius Rufus (the fourth great Roman Stoic/the guy known as the “Roman Socrates”), gave a lecture entitled “What is the chief end of marriage?”
Here’s what he had to say: “In marriage, there must be, above all, companionship and care of husband and wife for each other, both in sickness and in health and on every occasion. Each party entering into a marriage desires this, after all, just as they desire children. When this mutual care is complete and those who live together provide it to each other completely, each competes to surpass the other in giving such care. Such a marriage is admirable and deserves emulation; such a partnership is beautiful.”
I read that and I was like, “That’s THE best (!) marriage advice I’ve EVER received. Period.”
When this mutual care is complete and those who live together provide it to each other completely, each competes to surpass the other in giving such care. Such a marriage is admirable and deserves emulation; such a partnership is beautiful.”
In fact, that’s my new goal in my relationship with Alexandra.
And, that’s Today’s +1.
Here’s to (playfully) competing with our partners to see just how much care we can give them.
Remember: “Such a marriage is admirable and deserves emulation; such a partnership is beautiful.”
With love to you and your Loves!
+1 😍 +1 😍 +1 😍
P.S. You know how we’re always talking about “The Big 3” of Energy + Work + Love? Well, that’s Module II in our Optimize Mastery Series (and Coach) program. After we cover Eudaimonology in Module I (in which we get clarity on the game we’re playing and how to play it well), we help you get clarity on your Optimus-BEST self in each of those Big 3s of life including, of course, LOVE!
One of my greatest joys is the fact that couples and families do our program together.
This note from Gisele in the UK, who completed the program with her awesome husband Eric, so perfectly captures the spirit of how we hope to help you Optimize your LOVE that I’d like to share it with you Today:
“Optimize has simply transformed our lives. My husband is so much more present and focused both at home and at work. I feel so much more empowered, confident and able to manage the challenges that life throws at us. I am a better mom and better wife. ‘Bring it on’ has been the most effective tool I ever learnt! And I have used it so much! Also, thinking about the space between stimulus and response has also changed the way I respond to challenges and deep breaths have been so powerful. Brian and Michael have been truly amazing and they have inspired me to be the best version I can be, moment to moment to moment. I am so eternally grateful to Optimize Team and I hope to inspire many other people with all the wonderful wisdom we learnt! Thank you Optimize so very much!”