When you first rise in the morning tell yourself: I will encounter busybodies, ingrates, egomaniacs, liars, envy-mongers, and cranks.” —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.1
Stoicism, in a nutshell, is dealing with hardship, pain or troubles without complaint.
We all know that guy or gal; The person who just seems to be able to deal with everything life throws at them with a calmness and peace that seems unworldly (and completely unlike us – well, me – who falls apart at the slightest hint of a problem, usually daily.)
And, not only can these stoics deal with the slings and arrows flying their way, they have another superpower: They “spin” the problem to their advantage and actually embrace the obstacle. They see the opportunity in the very disaster that sends us lesser mortals running in a panic.
So, what’s the secrete? How do we achieve that peaceful state of mind?
One word: Perspective.
In his book, The Obstacle Is The Way, Holiday writes extensively about perspective. He says: “We choose how we look at things. We retain the ability to inject perspective into a situation. We can’t change the obstacles themselves – that part of the equation is set – but the power of perspective can change how the obstacles appear.”
In other words, WE decide how we feel about a situation. There is great power in that.
So. Let’s think good thoughts. Our troubles are what they are; but how we react and deal with them is up to us. Because as William Shakespeare said: “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
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Have a great rest of the week!