“Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honoured. Dying…or busy with other assignments. Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life. There as well: “To do what needs doing.” Look inward.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“To do what needs doing” is a good guiding principle for life. Not what we think we must or should do but what needs doing. What are the things that really need doing? So much of modern life is filled with the superfluous that coming back to simplicity and what is essential is an art in itself. What really needs doing is the task or assignment we have been given in life (by God, fate, nature, the soul?).
In addition to the question, ‘What needs doing?’, we might contemplate:
‘What is my task?’ ‘What is my assignment at this point in my life?’
Or as Victor Frankl put it, not what do I want from life but what does life ask of me?
But the cardinal question that Marcus Aurelius urges us to ponder in any situation is:
What is the right thing to do?
The answers to these questions are not to be found out in the world, in the culture, or through some authority, but by looking inward and consulting our conscience.