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History can solve your modern day problems. 7 lessons to learn from the past

Our modern day problems can be solved by looking into the past.

When we can’t find modern day answers to our modern day problems, perhaps a trip back in time will do the trick.

Studio 5 Relationship Contributor Dr. Matt Townsend needed some insights on a current issue, so he traveled through history to search for answers. He found them in the 2nd century. He shares seven lessons from the past to help us get through the present.

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7 Lessons From the Past That Can Solve Modern Day Problems

“What injures the hive injures the bee.” (Meditations 6.54)

  • The lesson: Our destinies are all “intertwined”. Whatever hurts anyone on this earth is a threat to us all. We can afford to thing we can go it alone.
  • What impacts one part of the systems hurts all of the us.
  • Are we the United States of America or the Divided States of America.
  • Division with someone to blame will injure the bees eventually.
  • If we are one country, then if one of us is hurting, or one part of the country is broken we all should hurt because we’re all in peril.
  • We live in time and age when we think we are divided and not inherently united. We see others as competitors in the whole, not cooperators.
  • We need to see that a shooting in a school is all of our problem. A problem in the economy is all of our problem.
  • TO DO: Quit Settling for divisive sound bites and start protecting the hive. What do you really want


“In short, know this: Human lives are brief and trivial. Yesterday a blob of [DNA]; tomorrow embalming fluid, ash.” (Meditations 4.48)

  • The Lesson: We all start and end with the exact same story we both started and will end in a blob of goo. What we do in between the book ends is much more up to us and is the only thing we really have any control over.
  • The book end of our lives is a blob of our parent’s DNA and a bucket of Embalming fluid. Your beginning and your end were pretty much all the same as everyone else’s. It’s what happens in between that makes live feel longer and richer.
  • Your Past is Over, and your future is predetermined (“memore muerta” “Remember You’re going to die).
  • We’re small! In the grand scope of things whether your kids get a 24 or a 32 on the ACT really doesn’t matter.
  • TO DO: Start living intentionally in the space between those two blobs…Your past which you can’t control, and your future will all end the same. The key is what you will do today to make this time and moment matter in the long run.


“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” (Mediations- 5.20)

  • The Learning: Our obstacles and trials must be overcome to make the way for a better life.
  • The thing that most complicates your life and makes it a trial is the “way” or thing you are supposed to learn to deal with.
  • Trials and Obstacles are an invitation for growth. They’re not a threat, they’re a step!
  • It is the hard things that are the right things. We always frame them as the wrong thing.
  • All obstacles are here to make you stronger.
  • TO DO: See life as a training ground and you are supposed to face trials, setbacks, and difficulties. It might be your anxiety, you’re children’s rebellion or the breakdown of your marriage. See what happens when you see the obstacle as the “way”.


“It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise, it cannot harm you—inside or out.” (4.8)

  • The Lesson: Your trials can’t ruin you unless you let it break your character.
  • Marcus Aurelius was big into the character of man. If something makes you less full of character, integrity, and goodness, it does hurt you.
  • We have too many people operating out of “what do I want” instead of what is good for the character of all.
  • All your trials are here to strengthen your character. Don’t lose your character or you lose the entire race.
  • Because todays generations aren’t’ depending on institutions (churches, government, family, educations) rules to live by they seek freedom instead. But freedom without character is aimless. We live in a time and place when we are in transition. We went from having our institutions and rules keeping us in check and in line to know we have the freedom to be anything we want, and many want to do it without character.
  • Definitions of Character-

o Stick to the decision long after the emotion of the decision has passed.

o To do the hard thing because it is right, not because it is easy or popular.

o The willingness to reap what you sow.

o The willingness to do what is right regardless.

  • To Do: Start identifying the character strengthening lessons you have learned by the trial you have gone through. Talk more with your families about character growth instead of just the difficulty of life.


“The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.” (Meditations- 5.16)

  • The Lesson: Chose your thoughts carefully and what you put in your mind because it all determines what color we want our soul to be.
  • The quality of the things you put in your head all day determines the “color” of your soul.
  • When our soul is dark the world seems dark. When our soul is light, the world is brighter.
  • We are all too much on auto pilot. We think its our right to think anything we want to think and in fact many of us never question our thinking.
  • We need to know that our thinking colors our soul.
  • Our essence is impacted by our ability to manage our mind.
  • To distinguish between our mind and spirit.
  • TO DO: Identify what color you want your soul to be. Intentionally turn off some of the things in your life and mind that may be tainting the color of your soul.


“Stop talking about what the good man is like, and just be one.” (Meditations- 10.16)

  • The Lesson: “Talk Is Cheap” … Just be one! Don’t spend too much time preparing to be good. Just do it.
  • Too many of us think our talking matters. We never stop it.
  • We equate a good conversation as equal to a good life. We equate, thinking, talking, planning, preparing, judging, shopping, and buying is all equal to being a “good person”.
  • Instead of constantly searching for the best things…Start being the best being.
  • TO DO: Try the test of talking less and doing more. Try to kill people with kindness instead of talking about others. Quit trying to live your life listening to all of the good thing’s others are doing and start doing them yourself.


“If you seek tranquility…do less, better!”

  • The Learning: Do Less, Better!
  • Tranquility coincides with quality in essence not abundance in the non-essential.
  • We tend to see the happy life as having abundance, but Aurelius argues it’s not abundance of unessential things but the depth on essential things that brings tranquility to life.
  • It might be your anxiety, you’re children’s rebellion or the breakdown of your marriage. See what happens when you see the obstacle as the “way”.
  • Having a lot of things doesn’t that make us happy. It’s the abundance and depth in the essential things that make us happy.
  • The full quote: “If you seek tranquility, do less.’ Or (more accurately) do what’s essential what the logos of a social being requires, and in the requisite way. Which brings a double satisfaction: to do less, better. Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’” (4.24)
  • TO DO: Find something you need to get rid of in your life and instead identify the essential things and start doing them. Try to do those most important things just 1% better every week.

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