“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” Epictetus
This is a quote you can appreciate once you begin a practice of streamlining your focus and maximising your energy. I’ve been reading many quotes lately that I’ve never been able to fully appreciate.
I’ve recently incorporated a journalling practice that includes gratitude and introspection, you can evaluate your feelings. You have a framework for developing your emotional self and measuring yourself against where you want to be. How you react and how you process the emotions that may have previously carried you away.
It’s about seeing what is and letting it go. Only you control how you react to harsh or kind words, only you control how you react to what you read in the paper, only you can evaluate what is inside and outside your control. Either way, you control your reaction.
I used to get upset about things that competing businesses did, their businesses practices, how they’d treat people. I’d spend hours researching what they were doing, with little or no productive outcome for me. It would tie me up in knots emotionally, how dare they be so unethical? It was physically and emotionally destructive. This was a constant in my life, not just a single one off event. It was the framework through which I viewed the world. I became negative and focused outwards.
Now, it’s a different story. Do I have the resources to do something about it? Do I want to do something about it? Does doing something about it align with my objectives? No to all three? Let it go. Focus on what you can do. Focus on what you want to do then focus on what you need to do to get there.
You can’t change other people, you can only change yourself. Letting it go doesn’t mean you don’t care. It merely means that you choose to value your time and energy above the things you can’t change.
“If you’re offended easily, you’re a bad resource allocator. It’s a waste of energy and attention, which is a greater sin than wasting time.” Posted by Tim Ferris recently. This is a branch on the same tree. Tim is big on focusing on what matters to you, stripping back what doesn’t and maximising your energy and attention to focus on those things that matter. By being offended you’re contributing nothing to your life or the problem. You may puff up and spout your values and offence, but ultimately where does it get you? It doesn’t get you closer to your objectives. It doesn’t solve the issue you’re upset about.
Don’t waste your time being offended. Spend your time doing what matters. If you’re offended about something that matters then spend your energy doing something about it, or let it go as out of your control.
Do you still worry about what you can’t change? Have you learned to move on?