The day has finished. We have spent today thinking about the following question:
Who am I really?
What defines who an individual is? Is it through an action? A series of actions? Is it our personality? The individual is so complicated and layered, it is hard to say. I believe it is a series of things, starting at our central core, our morals.
Marcus Aurelius writes:
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
Defining a good man, however, is more complicated than Marcus’ words. A good man is subjective (and while I use the word ‘man’ throughout this reflection, it is to be understood that I am referring to all sexes). We each have a different notion about what defines goodness in an individual, the same way we all differ on what we consider love to be.
I do not feel as though the statement Marcus poses is meant to define what a good man is. No, this is meant to be a strong statement, a message to himself to remind him that there is no time to waste talking about what a good man should or could be. He is telling himself that he must be a good man.
We can all debate about what it means to be good until we’re blue in the face, but I don’t think we need a precise answer on what it means to be good. Marcus’ statement is meant to remind us, each of us, that whatever our definition of good is, that’s what we should hold ourselves to. If you feel like being good is to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless on your corner, and you have been saying for the past four months that you were going to make them the sandwiches, stop and make them the sandwiches. Execute on being good now. However you define good, be that today, not tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come.
Reflecting upon who I am as an individual is not really what is most important to me. What is most important is reflecting upon whether I feel that I am a good man. Am I holding myself to the standard of good I want to achieve, or that I know I can achieve?
That is what is worth reflecting upon.
How have we grown from this? Did we execute any differently today because of this? Do you feel that you have new tools to accomplish tomorrow?