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Aurelius; Book One

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Aurelius; Book One

Post by Sim on Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:57 pm

I’ve been studying ancient Greek and Roman philosophy to supplement my course work at university. I'm currently reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. A classic work featuring the reflections and pondering of the Roman General versed in Stoic philosophy. I was skeptical at what value I would find, as Marcus wrote several thousand of years ago. His thoughts could be outdated or simply already stated in other authors I have already read.

But within the first few pages; I stumbled upon a curious axiom that struck me as profound. The passage is thus; 

“Alexander the Platonist cautioned me against frequent use of the words ‘I am too busy’ in speech or correspondence, except in cases of real necessity; saying that no one ought to shirk the obligations due to society on the excuse of urgent affairs. (Aurelius, pg.38, 180 AD)”

I found this highly curious. What did Marcus mean? That it is insulting to tell someone you’re too busy if it’s a false hood? Is it insulting to the task you must complete instead of what ever else you have been asked to participate in or complete? Is it simply a disservice to yourself to create an air of burden about the task you must complete? Or that it is wrong to feel pressured by society to only complete the task which it entrusts to you?

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Re: Aurelius; Book One

Post by Micheal on Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:08 am

I love this one.

One of the many hats I wear at work is that of a business analysts.  I identify what a person does as work so that I can help them to streamline their process... and I run into this all of the time.

To make the statement, "I am too busy" is to state that:

1.  You know everything you have to do in a day.
2.  You know exactly what you are being asked to do.
3.  You have the time management skills and presense of mind to know that you do not have the time to do what it is you are being asked of.
4.  You should quit because you are a liar.

Nobody can know the first 3 without actually doing the thing.  So jumping to, 'I'm too busy' is to discount not only the task but the person who asks you to do such.
So when it is utilized... 4 is the proper answer.

What I have done instead of this is make a prioritization chart of everything I am working on, present it to others who ask things of me, and then I will ask them, 'Is it OK that I deal with this after these other priorities are done?  Also if you think your task should be seen as a higher priority, you and I can go talk to the others on this list to see if we can come to an agreement on what I should work on first."

I never get them to talk to others and they either always are OK with how they are prioritized... or in the very rare instance will reach out to my boss to ask for someone else to deal with an issue.

That way, they make the decision based on the realities in front of me... and not me. 

Never discount them, let them do it themselves.

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Re: Aurelius; Book One

Post by Sim on Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:47 pm

That all makes sense. I found it interesting since I mainly see my peers and classmates using it as an excuse to get away from something else.

Where as It pains me to say "I'm too busy."

I'm aware I can't do it all, It's good to acknowledge that fact every so often.

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