Be a man of principle. Keep your word. Live with integrity. Be brave. Believe in something bigger than yourself. . . . Teach. Mentor. Give something back to society. Be a good friend. Be humble and be self-confident. . . . Appreciate your friends and family. Become the greatest husband and father ever.
Reading these words without attribution, one might reasonably guess they were the writings of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor whose “Meditations” are included in any worthwhile collection of the great works of Western Civilization. But these are actually the words of a man of humbler—if no less noble—origin. Douglas Zembiec was a major in the U.S Marine Corps.
Like the emperor, he kept notebooks filled with thoughts that reflected his ambition to live a meaningful life. Among those many recorded aphorisms we should not be surprised to find such maxims as “Serve your country” and “Fight for what you believe in.” Such aspirations are common among those in service to their country. And ideas such as “Lead from the front,” and “Conquer your fears” are typical of young officers.