The Straight Race

Posted by on Oct 3, 2015 in PGST Reflections | No Comments

These words are from the brilliant Stoic philosopher, Roman Emperor, and deeply influential force on PGST, Marcus Aurelius –

“Develop your own methods for observing how all things are in a continual state of change, one into another. Be ready, and welcome it when it is your turn to experience change, for there is nothing like it to heighten your sensibilities and elevate your mind. At the moment of change, a man’s soul takes flight, and being in this instant reminded that he will soon be called upon to leave the world of things and the company of men, he devotes himself wholeheartedly, to justice in whatever he does and to nature in whatever is done to him. His mind is no longer troubled by what someone may say or think about him, or do against him; and he finds perfect contentment in these two things only: to do the task at hand justly and to embrace his fate gladly. Throwing off all other considerations and schemes, his one ambition is to run the straight race marked out by the law, in pursuit of the swift-footed gods, who never leave this sure course.”

Good God – what words!! They grandly and yet so aptly apply to the life of Man at all levels, from the major movements to the minor chords. I’d like to hone in on the micro level, and relate Aurelius’ statement to the application of the “at least twenty minutes” Daily Action we use in PGST.

In PGST, each week, we break down our Super Objectives (large goals that we feel deeply called to move towards), into simple, practical, Daily Actions. Each day we are gently committed to doing a specific action for at least twenty minutes, no matter what! For example if one of our Super Objectives is “to develop a highly effective and delightful system to launch my new business by August 3rd, 2014”, then the Daily Action for Day One of our Weekly Action Plan might be to “for at least twenty minutes brainstorm a list of all possible investors”. When it comes time to take this Daily Action, the “change Aurelius so majestically riffs on”, emotionally and psychologically speaking, comes into play and becomes the obstacle that must be confronted. Of course, so often, we retreat from the emotional/psychological change (obstacle) and from the action itself. It’s time to sit down and do our brainstorming, but we don’t “feel” like it anymore – the inner change has taken place. Days before it seemed like an amazing idea; we were inspired.

“This is it!” we thought. “I have many contacts who would love the chance to get involved with a venture such as this – I can’t wait to spread the word and pitch my biz!”

Yet now we feel massive insecurity at the thought of creating our contact list.

“This just doesn’t feel right anymore, it seems pointless – I don’t think I have the stones to go through with this. Yesterday, I had a sense of flow and momentum, but now…even the thought of contemplating who might invest in my business makes my skin crawl!!”

FEELINGS CHANGE!! It is bound to happen, and, almost always, is not a sign to retreat, but to leap forward with open arms. Remember, Aurelius says, this emotional/psychological change, even a very uncomfortable one, can “heighten your sensibilities and elevate your mind”.

If we accept that emotions and most levels of thought are not in our control, then taking action through the shifting sands of emotion and thought can remind us of all that we don’t have power over, including life and death itself! It can remind us that there is no place of security from which we can launch ourselves – reality itself is insecure and ever changing. We can then focus on the only things we do have power over, and therefore the only things that can truly bring us peace and fulfillment: “to do the task at hand justly and to embrace our fate gladly”.

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