Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus (AD 50-135) wrote of life as a battle. In his treaties Discourses, he penned…
“Don’t you know that life is like a military campaign? [In a military campaign, one must do his service.] So it is for us—each person’s life is a kind of battle… You must keep watch as a soldier… You have a key post, not some lowly place, and not for a short time but for life.”
You Are a Soldier for Life
I understand that my life long assignment is to perform with the mentality of a trained soldier, ready for all unexpected daily occurrences. After all, most days have some sort of predictable schedule or appointments, but what occurs during those scheduled appointments is mostly unpredictable. So I must be prepared.
I’ve been taught that a military campaign has less to do with actual battle, than being more concerned with preparation for battle. According the advice of the great Stoic Epictetus, my position in life is to “stand at the ready” for that those occasions I when have no idea what will occur.
Think of last week. How much of each day was unpredictable? Kudos and conflicts, successes and failures, praise and criticism… you never know until the time comes for whatever will come.
Are you “at the ready?”
Ryan Holiday in The Daily Stoic suggests six qualities of readiness…
Character qualities such as these must be practiced and developed, but first they must be appreciated. Such qualities I put into my “says easy, does hard” category. They “do-easier” with training and practice.
I suggest two exercises:
- Pick your strong military quality. Use it everyday this week and observe how your success increases.
- Then select one that is not your strength. Practice it daily and, again, observe how your success increases.
Every Day is a Battle
Photo courtesy of BartekSzewczyk at istockphoto
2 thoughts on “Life is a Battlefield”
I needed this, I am full time care giver for my husband of over 50 yrs.
I can use discipline and clearheaded for certain!!
Mona. You’re a goddess! I am so impressed by your love and commitment. May your tribe increase! Please! Take care of the caregiver. All my best, Charlie