Conquering Fears, Modern problems, Stoic advice

Responsibility and power

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“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” 
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

What exactly is this power over our mind? Why will you find strength in it?

The expression “To rule over our minds” can be misunderstood, ruling over your mind is not lockingchariot your mind in a prison, it is not being cautious about it but to actually use it for your benefit. Picture yourself as the driver in the chariot, your mind being the horses, muscular and powerful, but also naive and easily scared, so you have to lead strongly.

When Marcus speaks about power over our minds he is referring to our capacity to respond. We are not capable of exerting power over events external to us but we do have the power over our mind to direct it and use it in a way that can meet the challenges and events outside of us and for this ability we find strength

You are not powerless, you are however responsible, for everything that happens to you and because of this responsibility, you are powerful if you choose to exert your power.


Responsibility is the ability to respond, simple as that.

There are no complexities in being responsible, either you accept it and become an active participant in your life or you neglect it (and your power as well obviously) and embrace passivity and like a death log in the river, be pushed around by anything.

It’s simple, but not easy. Choosing to be responsible is also accepting everything that happens to you. The bad choices from of the past, your circumstances, all the injustices, but also the good things. But if in spite of all, if you choose to take the reins of your life, you will no longer be a spectator, but the spectated, the decision maker.

Past, fault, and responsibility

There is a lot of fuss with the “living in the moment” phrase. It is incomplete. Living in the moment is a good thing, but, if you use it as an avoidance method and do not consciously learn about your past mistakes and from that point choose to be responsible for whatever your situation might be, living in the moment will just be an excuse to neglect your responsibility and become the death log being pushed around in the river.

Living in the moment will help you only if you embrace your responsibility, in other words, your capacity to respond to your environment and your situation and become an active ingredient in life.

Past mistakes can make us feel at fault or ashamed  and it becomes hard to “live in the moment”, it is hard because that feeling of fault/shame, but that feeling is there to teach you something and if you are trying to live in the moment just to forget your past, trust me, you are going to have a very hard time trying to do so. Your faults are in the past, you cannot change them, you can just learn from them, but by embracing responsibility, you are choosing to live in the present and in the present, you can actually do something about your faults.

Once you’ve learned the lesson, and choose to be responsible for it, it’s easy to live in thetumblr_ogy5dcjXAM1uj062xo1_500 moment, but the decision to act must be made.

You are always choosing. You cannot deny your freedom. You can choose to choose or not choose, but you are going to choose anyways.

Choices can harm you or benefit you. The power over your mind is there, it will depend on your decision to be responsible for it or not. The choice is yours.

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