Perception, Action, and Will

The Big Three

The daily stoic meditation from Jan 4th touched on three disciplines of the Stoicism:  Perception, Action, and Will.  The disciplines should allow us to tackle every decision and every situation in life.

One of the key points that the daily quote touched on, that was not highlighted was the notion of gratitude today for anything that comes our way.  The key being “anything”.  Once we can find the aspect to be grateful for in any situation, I find the misery diminishes as a result.

For a while now I have tried to live by acting in a way that I can be proud of, regardless of how other people act or treat me.  In many ways this goes against the common teachings of “do onto others” or “treat others how they treat you”.  I believe the first falls short by employing a what is referred to as a covert contract – expecting something from someone without their agreement. The second is self-serving and destructive, a path where there is no winner and there is no recovery. 

I like the simplification of Marcus’ quote:

Control your perceptions.
Direct your actions properly.
Willingly accept what’s outside your control.

I can see how these guiding disciplines could lead to a good life; being about to control your reactions to judgements towards you, directing your actions to others and not your selfish needs, and being grateful and accepting of each situation as it presents itself.


“All you need are these: certainty of judgement in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.”

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.6

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