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I'm Dale, the author of Going 1099

Lessons from a Roman Emperor

Published 29 days ago • 2 min read

Stoicism has had a resurgence in the last decade, and for good reason: it's a powerful tool to manage your mental state and well being.

Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from 161-180 CE, is a modern "influencer" due to his journal, which contained a log Stoic lessons he applied to his pretty tough day job.

Meditations: A New Translation

Here are some Stoic gems from his meditations that apply to your 1099 journey:

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"Love the discipline you know, and let it support you. Entrust everything willingly to the gods, and then make your way through life—no one’s master and no one’s slave."

As a 1099, there is a lot you can't control. Have confidence in yourself and faith that things will work out, even if it's not in the way you expect.

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"Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good. It will keep you from doing anything useful. You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind."

This is particularly relevant as you come across people who are more successful than you. Eyes on your own paper. Don't worry about them. It's not productive.

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"When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions."

Even the government bureaucrats you deal with are share the same basic DNA as you. They have a role to play in this life and a role to play in relationship to you. You don't get mad that movies have villains. Without villains, there is no story. Without a story, you don't have a movie. Without frustrating people in your life, you won't have much of a life. So appreciate them.

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"It stares you in the face. No role is so well suited to philosophy as the one you happen to be in right now."

It's tempting to think, "oh if only my life were like X, I could be a better person." Wrong. The life you have now is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the character traits you say you value. Think it'd be easier to be independent if you had more valuable market skills? Sure it would. But what it would take to be independent now? What steps will you take to get there today?

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Now, I'm not sure Marcus Aurelius' job as Roman emperor was as hard as being a solo 1099 federal sub-contractor, but he was a smart dude who fortunately parted timeless wisdom with us that we can apply to our own lives.


If you're interested in learning how to get your first solo 1099 federal sub-contract, check out my book:

Going 1099: How to become a solo federal sub-contractor and gain control of your working life, earn more money and unlock more free time

I'm Dale, the author of Going 1099

Going 1099 is a book that teaches you how to become a solo federal sub-contractor and gain control of your working life, earn more money and unlock more free time. I wrote it because quite a few people have asked me how they can become a 1099. I figured it was best to write a single book that I can send them and that I can share with others who are interested. This newsletter goes out Monday - Friday and covers topics that will help you succeed in starting and maintaining successful 1099 career.

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