“Alexander the Great and his mule driver both died. The same thing happened to both.”
It’s worth bearing in mind that the same fate awaits us all: prince or pauper, billionaire or bum – or in this case the last great emperor of Rome and his mule driver.
The idea of death as the great leveller is one of the most prominent in Stoic philosophy. Rather than being morbid, it’s practical: our time is fleeting, so let’s not use it idly.
One of my greatest shortcomings is playing it safe – worrying, planning, talking myself out of ‘risky’ choices – often settling for the ‘secure’ option.
I’m all too aware that a lifetime of those sort of safe decisions carries more risk in and of itself than any of those choices individually. I can’t stomach the idea of not doing as much as I can. So, I’ve got to make an effort to take more risks.
I think we all should. Why?
Because life is inherently risky. So, when the safe option isn’t really safe at all – why hedge your bets? As Bukowski said, if you’re going to go – go all the way.