Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: Book Summary

In this book summary of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, you’ll find my notes, high-level ideas, valuable lessons, and important action steps.

Meditations Summary

There are some bad people in the world that you will encounter. Just remember to consider your faults before you respond.

Your mind is the most important tool in life.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

Bad things are going to happen to you, and everyone, in life. So be wise and expect it, then you can lessen their power over you.

Some external events are outside of your control no matter what you do, but you control your mind if you choose to. Use this principle and you’ll find strength.

You can choose to be happy by thinking happy thoughts.

Freedom comes when you have solid control over your mind.

Wake up each morning and take action to do good with the day you have.

Don’t be anxious about what other people think about you and how they criticize you. Their criticism doesn’t make it true if you are good.

When people criticize you, it’s a sign that their life isn’t so great or successful. And that’s reason to give zero weight to their opinion. Don’t let it bother you.

It’s far better to think of good things than let revenge consume you. “The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”

It’s important to live connected with people. Isolation causes great problems and suffering.

You can use good humor to disarm the haters in your life.

Gossip is a complete waste of time! Be more productive to make your life better. “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

The greatest people of all time and the worst people of all time both have the same fate: death.

Do not be proud. Be humble.

Aim to die with peace.

Mini Summary

Put great attention and effort into disciplining your mind and how it thinks about life—nothing else is as important.

If you want to be happy and live a great life, it’s as simple as putting happy, quality thoughts in your mind.

Live life to the fullest. Spend your time productively on things that are good. Don’t waste any time on gossip, feeling down about criticism, or worrying about the future or death.

Three Favorite Quotes

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love…”

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

Action Steps For You

It’s clear that Marcus Aurelius continued to hammer home the point about getting your mind right.

So my action step for you is to intentionally do activities to discipline and practice your mental strength.

For example, read a book every week or two weeks, watch non-fiction documentaries, meditate, be open minded to consider both sides of a situation, think things through before you respond or act, build up patience, and practice overcoming physical discomfort by willpower.

Practice a morning routine, like Marcus advised, where you wake up happy. That means even if you get out of bed cold, with a headache, or stressed, practice focusing on one to three things you’re grateful for. These things can be big or small.

What will happen is your mood and energy will rise and you’ll give less power to negative feelings. This change in morning routine can change the entire rest of your day—that’s amazing.

If you stick with the goal of controlling your mind, your satisfaction levels will go through the roof.

Instead of being upset you’re in traffic, you can focus on the beautiful sky or music in the car. Instead of being angry the waiter spilled water on you, you can be thankful it’s just water and laugh it off with your friends.

The bottom line is you can save yourself years of anger, sadness, and pain when you program the right thoughts into your mind.

And that’s a life worth living if you ask me! 

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Brian Robben

Brian Robben is the founder of Take Your Success, a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs grow a profitable business and reach freedom. For in-depth training, visit:

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Erik

    “Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world.” – The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod (great book by the way if you haven’t read it)

    I’ll have to check this book out as I have a goal to read 75 books in 2017! I truly believe that by reading books, we can improve each and every day.


    1. Brian Robben

      Definitely going to check that out! Thanks dude.

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