So What Did The Romans Do For Us?
Of course, most of you will recognise that as a line from Monty Python’s – Life of Brian and the scene where a group of men are discussing the struggle against the Roman empire and doing their very best to find an angle to ‘really hate the Romans’ – but only really finding positives.
Fact is the Romans did work out a lot of stuff. Like how to make really hard concrete for the foundations of buildings, then the drains, the public administration of large areas of land and people.
They left a large legacy, some of which is not as positive as they would have hoped but one that contains lots of useful pointers for modern life.
Some of their writings have been preserved and of course, that brings me to the Stoics, the Roman philosophers that tried to give us some answers to life and some tools to use. Remember life was short in Roman times, and few people survived much after fifty.
It was about ten years ago when I first started to become interested in some of these lessons. I was in the middle of writing a few words for someone’s funeral and I remembered the word stoic, that started my initial interest
With that in mind, and with some focus from me, it was Epictetus wrote few lines about “protecting your own good” Ryan Holiday in his book The Daily Stoic interpreted this as “protecting your own flame”.
For me, this put in a nutshell what I had been trying to explain for years – inside of us there something that needs preserving, needs to be protected and kept alight (or alive) at all costs. Many of us don’t identify it until it is too late, some of us find out what it is and don’t even recognise it and for others they find it and focus on it.
They make it brighter and brighter until it eventually dies – as humans we do all eventually die – life really is a terminal illness.
On the way to brightness everything changes, us, the world, opinions and actions. This thing inside of us – once discovered becomes the thing that brings us everything we desire from life.
There is little from the outside that can bring us true happiness, the emotion of being at peace knowing what you are doing is truly engaging, truly your best work is you finding the flame, once found you need to tend it over years, it is the one thing you and I need to do consistently.
To help with keeping that flame alight is knowing how this money thing works and making sure whatever money you have is working hard for you, it brings you freedom to focus on it. It’s not about the money, it’s not about achieving true wealth but is all about having enough for you to become free enough to focus that which truly matters.
Sure my money principles may well end up making you richer than your wildest dreams, the problem is most of the stupidly rich people I’ve met are arseholes and miserable with it. Very few have a true focus on their internal flames.
Knowing how to make your money work for you and understanding how that will help you keep your flame alight is one of the most important things you can have and do. It’s not complicated, there are only a few rules to it.
But, for a few moments think of all you could be and do, if you could take your nose off the grindstone for a day, a week or a month. You’d be amazed and the happiest you’d ever been.
We can thank the Romans for some of these ideas and much of our modern way of life and don’t forget to include all of this inner game stuff – look after your flame – and remember it was the Romans who worked it out first.