Today, I’d like to share a teaching at the core of this ancient Greek philosophy.
It sounds pithy and throaway at first, but please, give it your attention. It’s a deeply profound thought that has survived over 2000 years. ⌛It’s the idea that you should…
💡 Focus on what you CAN control — and accept the things you can’t.
Stoic spoiler alert:The ONLY things you can control are your conscious thoughts and actions.Everything else is out of your control.That includes other people’s actions, the global economy, death, your body, wealth, and all the rest of it.You can try to influence, but you can’t directly control.And this revelation can come as an eye-opener.
👀To acknowledge that you cannot control external factors is reassuring. It means you can stop stressing about them and move on.The only thing you can control is your thoughts and actions. You can do your best, and everything else is down to “fate.”As succintly rehashed in the Serenity Prayer:
🙏”Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Or as originally stated by Epictetus around 1900 years earlier:”Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us.”It’s a profound thought when you truly think about it.You can only control your thoughts and actions.
💭Everything else you shouldn’t stress about, because you can’t control it.So maybe you could ask yourself…What is giving you stress right now?
🤷Is it outside of your control? (Hint: Most things are.)
And if so, why stress about it at all?