We sometimes envy the apparent luck and easy life of others, and often they have been blessed in ways that had nothing to do with effort. However your greatness is not how easily you achieved success or the luck of life. True greatness comes from the obstacles you have overcome.
We all know when we are doing the right thing. Those little indiscretions all take us further away from our purpose and erode our peace of mind. It is so easy to get caught up in doing what brings us pleasure, or what is easy. The stoics believed that peace of mind is achieved by doing the right thing, not wandering through life pursuing only its pleasures.
The Buddha called it Right Action or Right Mindfulness.
So often we carry around this idea that we have been harmed by what someone said, while most of the time it is our perception of what was said. If you let yourself be blown off course by all the things you hear and then take offense, then you are forever reacting, forever harmed.
If you cease to perceive what is said as a personal attack, you will cease to be harmed. There is no peace or happiness reacting to all the shit that happens. Cast away the worry and anger. You are only harmed if you let yourself be.
We like to think we are free and in some ways that is true, but so much of our lives we trade away for money or status. We dress a certain way, we do things we don’t like to do, and work in jobs that may pay well, but rob us of freedom. The question is how much freedom in your life has been traded for things?
If this wealth or these things imprison you, are you really free?
I read this quote in the book Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and thought I would share it. If you can reserve judgment in effect not trying understand what is in another’s mind you will be much happier. When you fail to observe your own thoughts you will most likely be unhappy.
Put another way, is living a life without introspection will surely lead to negative consequences. Being oblivious to your thoughts leads to bad behavior, poor decisions, and repeated failures.
Epictetus outlines the proper functioning of the mind with this quote:
- Choice – making good choices in thoughts and actions
- Refusal – to steer yourself away from temptation
- Yearning – to be a better person
- Repulsion – of things that are untrue
- Preparation – be prepared for what lies ahead
- Purpose – following your guiding principles
- Assent – understand what you can control and accept what is outside of your control.
Sometimes it is the fear itself that becomes the greatest danger. Don’t let your fear of something allow you to fuck it up. Many have destroyed a good thing and suffered many sleepless nights due to fear, and that very fear led to their downfall.