Do This Stoic Exercise To Become Limitless

Table of Contents

“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly. What doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness.” - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 7-56

On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded a completely outmatched Ukraine.

Boasting 10x more military spending, 5x more active personnel, 5x more armored fighting vehicles, 10x more aircraft and 20x more helicopters – Many expected that Russia would capture the Ukrainian capital within days, and in doing so, would execute President Volodomyr Zelensky.

Fearing much the same, just the day after the invasion began, the United States made an offer to Zelensky: flee your country and we’ll make sure you’re safe.

His response? 

“The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride”

This confused me greatly.

A politician?… a world leader that was actually willing to risk their life to defend that which they had sworn to defend?

With this confusion, came the shocking realization of how we’re living during an era where it’s become normalized for most people (and in particular authority figures) to betray the values and ideas they claim to champion, when it becomes convenient to do so.

By choosing to stay and fight and lead his people, Zelensky inspired the world by breathing new life into virtues that most of us assumed were dead… and the result has been magnificent.

Ukraine, just like every other country, has their fair share of political corruption and civil disagreements, yet Ukranians from all walks of life – farmers, programmers, accountants, grandmothers – – most of whom have never so much as fired a single bullet, have taken up arms and are ready to die to protect their homeland.

Even boxing legends like the Klitschko brothers, Vasily Lomachenko, and Oleksandr Usyk, men with power and money, wives and children – 

In the west, we see those things as reasons not to fight. These men see them as reasons for why they must fight. Think about that for a second, and if that doesn’t blow your mind, consider this:

The Ukrainian battle with Russia IS literally redefining the very idea of what power is as well.

Because sure,  tanks and planes are powerful, but perhaps even more powerful are people with pride and courage and LEADERS who embody those same virtues –

People with enough moral fortitude to draw a proverbial line in the sand, and boldly declare that ‘he who dares cross this line shall have hell to me’ – regardless of the size of the enemy!

If you feel like all of this inspires something within you as it does within me, then I invite you to join me as we work our way through the stoic exercise of TRULY considering what we are  willing to die for.

If your experience is anything like mine, I think you’ll be blown away by the result.

I’ve spent weeks contemplating this question, and understanding where I draw MY line in the sand has dramatically improved my motivation and ability to take action.

Let’s begin.

What does it mean to be willing to die for something?

“I have to die. If it is now, well then I die now; if later, then now I will take my lunch, since the hour for lunch has arrived – and dying I will tend to later.” - Epictetus

First, we need to understand what it actually means to be willing to die for something.

My wife Gabby once asked me if I would die for her, and I told her ‘absolutely not.’

She was a bit upset by this so I explained to her “Listen, Gabby, if ever there was some sort of grave threat to your life, I’d find a way to keep you safe from it.”

“I have a tremendous amount of life experience, and I’ve been in many life threatening situations, all of which have granted me the wisdom to act quickly, decisively, and without emotion”

“So, as long as you’re with me, I promise to do everything I can to keep you safe from danger. If I were to die for you, then how am I supposed to protect you?”

Upon saying all of this, a massive grin spread over her face.

And then I added “plus, if I were to die, I know you would never be able to move on with another man, and you would probably just end up taking your own life, hoping to reunite with me  in the afterlife.”

To this she began to laugh, but before she could even squeeze out a single giggle, I slapped her across the face for even considering that this was a joke.

I’m joking! But my main point in all of this is that the ‘willingness’ to die for something shouldn’t be the first option, it should be the last option.

If it comes down to it, yeah, I’m willing to die to protect what I love, but not before I’ve exhausted every possible way to either protect us from, or eliminate the threat itself.

Once we understand what it means to be ‘willing to die’ for something, then we’re ready to consider the question further.

Here are the 3 main things that I’m willing to die for.

1. Freedom

“You want to live, but do you know how to live? You are scared of dying and tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different from being dead?” -Seneca

I firmly believe that the greatest existential threat to our time is the gradual encroachment by the 3-headed monster of corporations, government, and media, onto our freedoms.

It’s insane to think that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the ‘public square of the 21st century’, have taken it upon themselves to become the arbiters of what is ‘truth.’

Yeah what could go wrong when soulless multinational corporations, motivated by profit and swayed by massive political biases, get to decide what’s true?

To the extent that should you dare use one of their platforms to voice anything they’ve determined to not be true, you can receive a strike or have your account shut down entirely, without any real way to appeal.

What people don’t realize is that this slow encroachment onto our freedom of speech – arguably our most important freedom because it allows us to speak up against tyranny and other horrible ideas – is creating a situation where those who disagree with whatever narrative the 3-headed monster is pushing are essentially guilty of ‘wrongthink’ and branded as enemies.

And when you study history – I would particularly encourage you to study The Gulag Archipelago, or the rise of Communism in China – you understand that the death of freedom always begins the same way –

A systematic elimination of constitutionally protected liberties under the guise of ‘being for the greater good.’

In the words of Marcus Aurelius, “Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future too.”

I believe that to exist within a system where our every move is manipulated by the slimy tentacles of totalitarian policy is the equivalent of death – and so why wouldn’t I be willing to die in the battle to prevent that from happening.

Get the Dark Mode guide

The Dark Mode Guide

is a simple system designed to help you achieve a specific goal by facilitating the development of relevant habits and creating the perfect environment to make failure impossible.

This guide is about actually walking the path. It creates a perfect environment devoid of excuses and forces you to face who you are and what you need to do in a way that’s sustainable.

2. My Country

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Would I be willing to die for my government? Absolutely not.

Would I be willing to die protecting my family, friends, neighbors… people who follow this channel?

Yeah, I would.

Because when you log out of social media and log into the real world what you find overwhelmingly is that people are great.

They’re honest, they care about one another, and generally speaking, they’re doing the best they can given the information and resources they have available to them.

For a country to actually be a country, there’s an implicit assumption that we should all be willing to fight, and yes, even risk our own lives, to protect those around us.

Because if we’re not willing to do that, then what are we really? A geographic area with artificial boundaries.

3. My Family

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by…. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” - Marcus Aurelius

So for me this is where things get a little complicated – I’ll explain.

My mother and father – my heart tells me that I should be willing to die to protect them,but I’d like to think that if it came down to it, that I wouldn’t give my life, because I know how important it would be for them, in that situation, to lay down their lives for me instead.

So I guess when defining family, within the context of what I’m willing to die for, I’m referring to ‘those who come after me.’

I’m at a point in my life where I’m just now starting my own family. Last week, at my 2nd amateur boxing match, seeing my wife and her daughter (who I’m only just starting to get to know)  watch me go to battle filled me with something I still don’t fully understand, so I can’t explain it to you here.

But what I can explain is that, many years ago, I came to understand profoundly that my life would have absolutely no meaning so long as I served myself.

And since I’ve learned to serve those around and above me, life has given me more in the ways of blessings, success, and motivation, than I ever could have imagined.


Subscribe to e-mails

Join 100k+ others and receive weekly tools, tips, and secret resources directly from Nelson.

Related Articles