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Stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions (Marcus Aurelius)

Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. But make sure you guard against the other kind of confusion. People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 2, n. 7

Marcus Aurelius Meditations purpose focus

I have seen the beauty of good (Marcus Aurelius)

From Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations:

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 2, n.1

Marcus Aurelius Meditations stoicism

Exploiting and Exploring

From Annie Duke, Quit, p. 202.

When the ants first get to a territory, they’re exploring it for opportunities. Once they find an opportunity, a high-quality food source, they start to exploit that. But some percentage of them never stop exploring. That allows them to discover backup plans. Those backup plans are really good to have when the ants are forced to quit, when the ants get unlucky and the food source goes away. But just as important, sometimes when they’re searching for a backup plan, they find something even better than their Plan A.

That’s the way that we need to think too. When we find something that’s working for us, whether it’s a job, a career, a product that we’re developing, a business strategy, or even a favorite restaurant that we love going to, continuing to explore what other options might be available is a good strategy in a world as uncertain as the one that we live in.

Never stop exploring.

exploring exploiting