“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will. ”
OK, as a Stoic, you know that you have control over your will, over your dispositions and also over your attitude. That’s within you immediate control and no one can take it from you.
But is that it? Don’t you have a moderate amount of control over your bank account as well, for example?
Absolutely, although it can happen that the bank goes bankrupt or maybe you could live in Venezuela and see how all the value of your Venezuelan bolivars sinks to the floor, hey, anything can happen. But, right now, if you want to go to the store and buy something, you have control over your money, you can buy a coke, a snack or cigarettes. Just like this, you have power and influence over a lot of stuff in your life, the thing is, do you really know the difference between what is and what isn’t, and also, to what extent? Knowing this, would certainly save you a lot of time, wouldn’t it? Here’s why.
For a really, really strange reason, you find yourself in a room filled with sandwiches and rocks. Don’t ask me why. You are the one stuck in the room. After a while, naturally, you begin to feel hungry, so you eat a sandwich. Why didn’t you ate a rock instead? Dumb question, rocks are not meant to be eaten. So, if there were only rocks, would you get mad at the rocks for not being able to satisfy your hunger? Well of course not, they’re just rocks.
This dumb scenario plays just the same in so many aspects of our lives. For example with people. Just as you have a personality and a way of being, everyone else does as well. Some people like football, others hate it, some like to chat and have a drink, others like to read a book and sleep early. But quite often, we get really mad at people for not behaving in the way we want them to behave. Why would you get mad at a rock for not being able to satisfy your hunger? Dumb right? But then, why would you get mad with the early sleeper for not wanting to go out with you? Still dumb?
People just as rocks are different, it doesn’t do to get angry about a rock not being able to satisfy hunger, rather, it’s better to look for a sandwich.
So, you do have control, a lot. But you have to know where that control lies as well. It will depend a lot on your objectives and what you want to achieve. You might not be able to use a rock to feed yourself, but you can use it to build a house or to have fun with it and throw it to a pond. Just the same with everything else, realize where your control is and realize the nature of everything around you so you can act accordingly.
You have control, a lot, but you have to know how to properly use it!
a great complement to this read: Where are you putting your attention?
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