I'm coming to you from the Colosseum in Rome. This is one of the seven wonders of the world, and it was built in 80 A.D., which is pretty impressive considering it holds 60,000 spectators for so many different events... the most famous of course being the gladiator battles.
We're here today because the quote I wanted to share with you is by one of the last five good emperors called Marcus Aurelius. Now, Marcus Aurelius is one of the so-called the five good emperors, because unlike the other emperors that ruled with dictatorial, power hungry rule, Marcus Aurelius ruled based on virtue. And so it's no coincidence that these five good emperors were actually chosen and elected to the throne rather than inheriting it.
Marcus Aurelius you may know from the movie Gladiator. He played the good emperor, and as a side note there were two kind of falsehoods that Hollywood made up about that movie. Number one, Marcus Aurelius didn't actually die at the hands of his son, who was played by Joaquin Phoenix in the movie. He actually died on battle.
And number two, the gladiator Maximus (played by Russell Crowe) was actually a fictitious character. It was a combination of different people, including Spartacus, the leader of the slave revolt.
The Truth About Reaching Your Goals
Anyways, the quote I want to share with you today comes from Marcus Aurelius' book called "Meditations".
Now these meditations were not the kind of meditation where you're like a Buddhist Monk trying to achieve enlightenment or something. The meditations Marcus Aurelius wrote about were the kind when you're just silent, and you're with your own thoughts, and your trying to think about life, and your direction, etc.
This is something really rare in history. Here we have a Roman Emperor, the last of the five good emperors, who wrote a series of twelve books called Meditations just for himself. He never wanted this to be a best seller, or get published, or anything, he just wrote these words for himself, and we get an insight into his thinking.
Here is the quote.
"If a thing is humanly possible, consider it within your reach."
What a cracker of a quote! "If a thing is humanly possible, consider it within your reach."
That means, too often, when we think of trying to reach a goal, we think, "I want to learn how to play a musical instrument, but I'm not musical." "I want to learn how to sell, but I'm not a salesperson. I don't have the gift of the gab." "I want to run really fast, but I wasn't born with that gift. I'm not talented, so I won't do it."
What he's saying is that's completely rubbish. "If a thing is humanly possible, consider it within your reach." Instead of focusing on all the differences, that you're too young, too old, not enough experience, too much experience, focus on the one glaring fact that's right in front of you, that you're a human being, just like all these other human beings as well. You breathe the same air. You walk the same way etc.
Sometimes, I think to myself that humans are capable of so many things. Achieving so many goals. For example we're capable of building this amazing Colosseum. And I think if we can put a man on the moon, then you can reach the goal that you're wanting to do, whatever it is.
The second really important thing to realize about this quote is that it's not the whole quote. The actual full quote goes like this.
"Just because something is hard to master, do not think it is humanly impossible, but, if a thing is humanly possible, consider it within your reach."
Now, why is that important? Because, it shows that he wrote this quote just for himself, and Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman emperor, is still saying he found things hard to master, but he kept persevering, and he didn't consider them out of his reach, because other humans have achieved them.
And that's what I'd like to share with you today as well because it's really helped me a lot. When I didn't believe in myself, or didn't believe it was possible, or could be done, I just thought to myself, if a thing's humanly possible - if someone else has done it - I can do it too! Why? Because I'm human.
Forget all the other stuff about being too young, too old, too short, too fat, whatever it is.... because you're a human being as well!
So let me know if you like this video and I'd love to hear your comments about what goal you thought was too hard, but now is possible for you as well.
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