Lesson 33

Lesson 33: BHFM and The Stoic Advisor

Weekly Habits for Success - Daily Task to The Habits for Success

“[Thanks to] the Gods. That I had good grandparents, a good mother and father, a good sister, good teachers, good servants, relatives, friends—almost without exception.” —Marcus Aurelius, Mediations1.17


One of things that helps me get through a day, especially when I know it’s going to be a particularly tough day, is to sit down and journal, mind-sweep, and even write out what frog(s) I’m going to swallow first. Although it’s not a “list” per se, getting it all down on paper is a great way outline the day and mentally prepare for it.

In the first book of Meditations, we see Marcus writing out a sort of grocery list of people he didn’t want to forget, people who had an impact on his life. Nearly 10% of Meditations is a list of people that he didn’t want to forget. He writes humbly about these people, with deference and respect to them. His sense of humility almost oozes out of the pages. You can tell these people meant a lot to him.

So, you may wonder: what does any of this have to do with the “habits of success” and the tasks of success that you’ve been working on for the last six months?

Listen to the words of Marcus: “When you need encouragement, think of the qualities the people around you have: this one’s energy, that one’s modesty, another’s generosity, and so on. Nothing is as encouraging as when virtues are visibly embodied in the people around us, when we’re practically showered with them. It’s good to keep this in mind.”

Marcus was literally flooding his mind with the good qualities of the people around him. His mind was bathing in the virtues of these people, so that he might grow as a human being and be better at what he was doing.

Who in your life do you admire and why? Take some time and write it down. Write down their names and what you admire about them. What about that friend that always works out every weekday, no matter what? What about that high school teacher who was there to listen and guide you when you needed it most? What about that uncle who was always able to keep his cool even when everything was going wrong? What about that friend who always has a smile and a kind word?

Put it down on paper. Memorialize these people and their great qualities. Now, you have a list of virtues and skills that you admire and a person who exemplifies that virtue or skill. Now you know it can be done. You can wrap them all up into one person, that one person being you, and strive to live up to those standards.

And when you fall short in some area of your life, you can look at your list of people, find the one that most exemplifies what you need right now and call them up. And if you can’t call them, then have a conversation with them anyway. Find a private place and ask them what to do - you’ll be surprised to find that your subconscious knows what to do and will answer the call for help.

NEW TASK: Make a list of everyone you admire.

NEW TASK: Once that list gets long, take a few people each day (or at least one person each day) and write out what you admire about them. Be as detailed as you can and cite examples wherever possible.

NEW HABIT: Make a point to reference this list at least once per week and ask yourself, “Where am I falling short or struggling? Who on this list should I call or have a private conversation within my mind if I can’t speak to them?”.