#1572 Areté +1° #254: Warriors vs. Librarians

Moving From The Ivory Tower To The Arena Of Life

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, another micro-chapter from our new book, Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential.

451 of my all-time favorite, hopefully life-changing ideas.

This is the second micro-chapter in the fifth Objective on how to master yourself.


As we’ve discussed, Donald Robertson is one of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners of Stoic philosophy.

He’s written a number of great books including one called The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, in which he traces the philosophical roots of modern cognitive behavioral therapy to ancient Stoicism.

Donald tells us that the ancient philosophers weren’t interested in merely understanding how to live optimally, they were committed to actually LIVING optimally.

In fact, he tells us that those ancient philosophers wouldn’t recognize a lot of modern philosophers who are often exclusively focused on theoretical ideas in the comforts of their ivory towers.

The old-school philosophers knew it was really hard to live in integrity with our highest ideals. They told us we needed to be WARRIORS of the mind, not mere librarians of the mind.

To state the obvious: All of these +1°s aren’t ideas to be cataloged in the libraries of our minds. These are ideas to be LIVED in the moment-to-moment experiences that determine our destiny.

So… What’s ONE idea you’ve merely cataloged in your mind that you need to take into the arena of your life?

Let’s do that.


P.S. As we’ve discussed a number of times, the metaphor of the warrior winning the battle between their higher and lower selves is present throughout the ancient traditions.

Let’s revisit some wisdom from Socrates and Rumi and bring the Buddha in to share his perspective as well.

Socrates put it this way: “I desire only to know the truth, and to live as well as I can… And, to the utmost of my power, I exhort all other men to do the same… I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly conflict.”

Buddha tells us: “One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand men on the battlefield.”

And Rumi offers: “The lion who breaks the enemy’s ranks is a minor hero compared to the lion who overcomes himself.”

And, I repeat, even Gandhi’s bible, the Bhagavad Gita, was set on a battlefield.

Let’s win the battle between vice and virtue.

Let’s be Heroic warriors of the mind.

Let’s move from Theory to Practice to Mastery.



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