Stoicism is built on the freedom of one’s mind, one’s own will, and the divine nature of life.
Stoicism teaches individuals how to develop self-control. This means training oneself to rise above the emotions that destroy situations, and how we have control over our emotions such as anger, hate, and jealousy. By training ourselves to overcome these emotions, we gain more control over our lives. We’re less prone to lashing out, saying things we do not mean, or overreacting to the situation at hand. By keeping these emotions in check we are able to keep a clearer head and assess the situation which currently stands before us.
IS THIS IN MY CONTROL?
This question will help you train yourself in differentiating what is in your control and what isn’t. It is about simplifying our lives to understanding the control we possess and the lack of control we have over certain situations.
Someone said something nasty to you, how will you respond? Will you lashout? Take it out on someone else down the line? Or you didn’t get the promotion you wanted at work. Will you talk gossip throughout the office? Curse your bosses and tell your co-workers upper management doesn’t know what they’re doing? Or will you stand tall, assess the situation, find key ways to improve yourself, and look to get promoted the following year?
By understanding that we have control over how we act and react, we gain more control over our current situation, our life, and our future.
Earlier today I posted the following quote on Instagram by Marcus Aurelius (@stoicwithin):
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Even the most powerful man in the world at the time had to remind himself on a daily basis to analyze what was in his control and what was outside of his control. Meditations, Marcus Aurelius’s journal, time and time again references passages to himself similar to the above.
As we move through life, we must ask ourselves the question time and time again, “Is this in my control?”
I will leave you with one final quote on the matter, this one coming from Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl in his memoir Man’s Search for Meaning:
“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”