Focus On What Really Matters

Meditations Book 11 by Marcus Aurelius, a reflection.

“Just as those who try to block your progress along the straight path of reason will not be able to divert you from principled action, so you must not let them knock you out of your good will towards them.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 11.9

Hi! Have you ever heard people say something negative about you? At some point, we do. We all hear someone say negative about us that put us in real trouble. But this time, I would like to share with you my thoughts on how we can keep our focus on what really matters to us despite the negative opinion/s of others about us.

Every new day offers new opportunities to make our lives better. We wake up every morning for work and rest at night to recharge ourselves for another grind at work the next day.

Many of us take part to this system to put the food on the table, live a decent or comfortable life, buy something or go wherever we want, and keep our family safe. What really matters to every individual varies. We can say that the things, big or small, that make our life situation and our well-being a little bit better are the things really matter.

On the other hand, no matter how hard we work to get the things that matter to us and no matter how good our intentions are, people will still say something negative about us. It is just a lot of people are unaware that we have different reasons for doing different things.

Let us say we work so that we can get to the places we want to visit or we can afford the food we need or want, perhaps both. When they see that our body gets a little bigger, they will tell us that we eat too much. Or, when others see the pictures of our recent travel, they will tell us that we spend unnecessarily too much.

Let us say that if we live in a poor neighborhood and we come to work well-dressed, people will say that we are social climbers who are trying to fit in the place we do not belong.

Also, if the nature of our work does not fit our bachelor’s degree, others will see us as a failure for not making it to the industry that fits our college degree.

Again, we have different reasons for doing different things.

When we start receiving our salary, that means getting our own money, we can do whatever we want with it. Whether we spend it for a quick out-of-town trip or treating ourselves to a feast is all up to us.

While other people has always something to say about us, it does not mean that we must wholly submit or get affected to whatever they say.


Nobody says that we should never listen to the opinion of others, especially the constructive ones. Not all opinions have zero importance or value relative to us. But more than the opinion of others is our opinion and our opinion about their opinion.

Does someone dislike us? That is someone’s concern. Does someone hate us? That is someone’s concern. If we are not guilty of any dislike or any hate, that would not be wholly our concern. In that way, we can stay out of trouble.

Most often than not, it is not the opinion of other that troubles us, but our judgment to their opinion that causes the trouble. If our judgment to dislike or hate is a rebuttal of more dislike and hate, it would not only make the situation look bad, but it would also affect our day in a bad way.

We are the ones who can judge what things can affect us. We are the ones who can judge if we are going to have a bad day or a good day. We are the ones who can judge if we will go to bed at night without any grudge. And, we are the ones who can judge what really matters to us.


Most, if not all, of the people we meet, do not have an idea where we come from and what we want in life. If what we want in life really matters to us, why would we fully submit to others’ unsolicited opinion about us?

Marcus Aurelius is right that we should not allow someone’s opinion to block us from getting to the place we want to be. And we should keep the stability of our judgment and mild response to those who try to judge us wrongly. In this way, we can have a good day despite hearing unwanted opinions about us.

At the end of the day, it is our life, it is what we want and what we need that is on top of our priorities. It is in our control which opinion is beneficial, which opinion is our concern, and which opinion deserves our reaction.

Remember, the less we react to people’s opinions, the more we focus on what really matters to us.

What do you think about my thoughts you just read? Comment them below.

1. The Meditations By Marcus Aurelius.
2. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living.

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My 2020 goal is to read a book per month; share with people what I learn from and feel about the book. For July 2020, the book I read is the Meditations By Marcus Aurelius.

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