I know how much you look to me for guidance and insights in navigating the uber-complicated world of long-term care.

From RUGs and ACO to MDS and PPS, I not only can spell them, but also list them in this sentence. But we’re not going to plumb my deep well of technical knowledge and practical know-how today.

Instead, consider this more of a pre-game pep talk. Relax, it won’t be delivered by me.

I’ve invited an ancient luminary named Marcus Aurelius to join us. He’s a noted philosopher, management guru and life coach, who also was the keynote speaker at the AHCA convention in 158 A.D. Sadly, his long-term care consulting work had to be cut back when he became Emperor of Rome.

An early proponent of self-reflection, our man Marcus wrote voluminous notes in an obsessive quest to improve himself and live a meaningful life. Though never intended for publication, his “Meditations” ranks among the planet’s greatest works of philosophy.

And it turns out that even after lo-these-many centuries, he still has something profoundly simple, yet simply profound to say — at least he did to me — about how to survive and succeed in this freely chosen, but ever-challenging, profession: “At every moment keep a sturdy mind on the task at hand,” Marcus wrote, “doing it with strict and simple dignity, affection, freedom, and justice …”

“Approach each task as if it is your last, giving up every distraction, emotional subversion of reason, and all drama, vanity, and complaint over your fair share …” he continued. “If you keep watch over these things, the gods won’t ask for more.”

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks at hand, whether it’s making a bed, delivering a med, spearheading a multi-facility clinical initiative or advocating for national change. But his is a timeless, foolproof formula: Do the work. Ignore the drama. Honor every act. Treasure every moment. The gods won’t ask for more. 

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in Humor Writing in the 2014 American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) awards program