Have you ever had one of those days where it feels like your mind is working against you? I had a friend recently who was really struggling with negative, intrusive thoughts. It was really frustrating to see because no matter how much I tried to help him see the positive aspects of his life, he just couldn’t shake the negative thinking. And then, I came across this quote from Marcus Aurelius: “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Confirmation Bias and the Power of the Mind
At first, I was like, “yeah yeah, another motivational quote.” But then I started thinking about my friend’s situation and it hit me: he was stuck in a cycle of confirmation bias. Let me explain what that is. It’s when we only see and interpret information in a way that confirms our preexisting beliefs, even if it’s not accurate or even in the face of contradictory evidence. Basically, he had convinced himself that his life was terrible and no matter what positive things happened, he just couldn’t see them.
So, I started wondering if this is what Marcus Aurelius meant when he talked about having power over our minds. It’s about being able to choose how we think and how we interpret and respond to events. And by recognizing that we have this power, we can work to overcome confirmation bias and be more objective and critical in our thinking. It’s a powerful reminder of the importance of mindful and critical thinking in our daily lives.
The Power of Positive Thinking
I know it’s easier said than done, but just think about it – if we can learn to control our thoughts and reactions, we can break free from those negative cycles and start seeing things in a more positive light. It might not change what’s happening in the world around us, but it can change how we feel about it. And that’s a pretty powerful thing.
So, the next time you find yourself stuck in a rut or unable to see the bright side of things, try to remember Marcus Aurelius’ words and use the power over your mind. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. Trust me.
If you’re interested in more stoic lessons, check out the following posts:
Why do we suffer more in imagination than in reality
Be content to be thought foolish and stupid