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Pearls of wisdom from Rome’s greatest emperor.

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Photo by Simone Savoldi on Unsplash

The first time I learnt about Marcus Aurelius was probably the same time most people became familiar with his name — after watching Gladiator.

In the film, he is portrayed as a wise elder statesmen who knows his reign is coming to an end. Faced with the difficult choice of anointing his narcissistic and sadistic son Commodus, or the General, Maximus, as his successor, he chose the latter.

I won’t spoil the film for you if you haven’t seen it, but things don’t go according to plan.

The Marcus Aurelius that is portrayed in the film is only a glimpse into what the actual figure was like in real-life. He was considered to be the epitome of Plato’s ideal of the philosopher-king. …

More isn’t always better

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Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash

The modern world is full of distractions. So many in fact, that it feels like it’s almost trying to catch us out. Toying with us to make us drop whatever we’re doing.

You only have to scroll through your social media feeds to see what I mean. Whether it’s adverts on Facebook imploring us to buy a new phone or to book a holiday to a tropical destination, everybody is competing for your eyeballs.

What these adverts, and the companies that post them, want you to do is to add more and more to your life. This is what is known as consumerism. …

Becoming smarter and wealthier doesn’t have to be so difficult

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Photo: Alexander Schimmeck/Unsplash

Money makes the world go round, so the saying goes. Indeed, you can’t do much without money. I know this better than most.

After three years living in Australia and New Zealand and traveling in Southeast Asia, I’d gone from a position of financial strength to one of weakness. When I was living in Barcelona, teaching English, my savings were whittled down to almost nothing. Even though I built my finances back up after working back in the UK for a few months, that soon went when I moved again.

My situation got so bad I only had a few pounds to my name in my bank account at one point. Before I left home in 2012 to go to Australia, I had more than five figures in the bank. Five years later, despite working for the majority of that time, my finances had turned to dust. …

Don’t wait to make the changes you desire

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Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

New Year’s resolutions are almost as popular as the celebration of the New Year itself. Every year, millions of people across the globe decide to make a change in their lives.

Maybe it’s they want to change their diet. Maybe they want to spend more time in the gym, or maybe it’s something as simple as writing 500 words a day. Whatever the resolution, they all have on thing in common: they all start on January 1.

If you’ve not already, the question you should be asking is why wait until an arbitrary date to make a change in your life? Why not make the change earlier? Why do you need to wait for the completion of the Earth’s journey around the sun before you make a change in your life? …

If you don’t, financial freedom will always be out of your reach

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Every year Apple releases a new product. Be it a new iPhone, iMac, or an iPad, like clockwork the product ends up on shelves around the globe. Every year that this happens, you’ll also find scores of people queuing outside shops to get their hands on these new shiny goodies.

Now you may be thinking what’s wrong this. If someone wants to buy a new phone or laptop what’s wrong with that? On the face of it, nothing. They can do what they want with their time and money. …

Don’t let others hold you back

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Photo by Raphael Bick on Unsplash

I know what your thinking. What the hell has the mentality of a crab got to do with being successful? You’re right to be sceptical.

On the face of it, there is no correlation between the two. I mean, we’re humans. We’ve sent people to the moon, developed devices that can call someone on the other side of the planet and invented pasta. How can a crab compete with that?

They can’t of course. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn something from them. We might be the dominant species on the planet, but we have to remain humble enough to learn from others. …

It’s not only America where things will change

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Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

After days that felt like they would turn into weeks, Joe Biden has been declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election and will become the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021.

The landslide that pools predicted may not have happened, but with Biden winning the electoral college by 306 votes, the same number that Trump won four years ago, it’s a convincing victory nonetheless.

Biden’s task will not be easy. He takes over a country that is arguably more divided than at any point since the end of the Civil War. On his own side, he has progressives who want him to push ahead with plans to tackle the climate crisis and beef up medical insurance for millions of people. …

Multiple languages are better than one

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Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

German class was the worst. I didn’t get along with the teacher, who thought I was an idiot, nor was I particularly interested in learning German either.

I’d taken the class at the insistence of my parents. The rationale was that it would be useful to learn a second language, it would have benefits down the line. I could see their point, but I wanted to do cookery instead.

In the end, I gave in and took the German class. After three years of being required to study German, I was now doing it for another two voluntary. …

What we can learn from one of the greatest films ever made

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Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

If you were asking people to compile a list of their top ten films, I’m sure most people would include The Shawshank Redemption on that list. Since its release in 1994, the film has gone on to be widely regarded as one of the greatest ever made.

It tells the tale of Andy Dufresne, who is imprisoned in Shawshank for two life sentences after he was convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover. …

Words of wisdom from Ryan Holiday’s ‘Stillness Is The Key.’

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Photo by Özgür Akman on Unsplash

You wake up. You scratch your eyes, turn your head to the side to see what time it is and slowly lift yourself up from the depths of the mattress. Once again, your head turns to the side, but this time you reach for something.

On the table by the side of your bed is a small object. Your phone. You’ve been asleep for eight hours. In that time, not much has happened but you don’t know that. Maybe someone has sent you an important message. …

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