There is no reason to pretend anymore. None of this is a test or a drill. This is all happening, right here and right now. The world is at a stand still, but yet, everything keeps moving and the rest of us seem lost, as if the last several months have been like a movie that no one understands.
They say nothing ever happens in “Our time,” which is somewhat of a dispute. The reason for the dilemma is that of course, we want what we want, and we want this now.
We don’t want to wait. We don’t want to leave anything open to interpretation or up to the judges. No, we want what we want without any hesitation or negotiation.
Safe to say there are times when I am not patient. Safe to say that yes, like most of the world, I have my times when frustration takes me away. I have moments when my frustration turns to resentment or anger, which turns inward and and against me if this goes unaddressed and changes the face of my day.
There is the idea of the stoic. The stoic is not addicted to passion in any way, shape or form. Good news is the same as bad news. This does not mean that life comes without joy or pain. Instead, this means that our process is not and cannot be hinged upon results. Otherwise, we tend to lose ourselves in senseless details that mean so much less than what we believe them to be.
Life does not go according to plan. The last several months are proof enough. No one planned to have a Pandemic this year. No one asked for this. No one asked for the world to shut down and no one asked to have a worldwide virus kill nearly 1 million people. Yet, here we are, still trying to weave through something that punished our entire population, let alone my country and let alone my City and State, which has claimed to lose more than 35,000 people.
There is this idea that I’ve had for a long time. This was more of a business plan that was gaining momentum. I was building up speed until the virus hit. Then the world shut down. And in a blink of an eye, everything changed. Everything stopped. No one returned phone calls. I took a few meetings to sell my product and as close as I came, my City is not ready to open. At least, not yet, which puts my business at a disadvantage.
I can do one of two things. I can submit. I can withdraw and accept the Pandemic. Or, I can keep looking for the sweep. I can adjust and maneuver and try another door.
I can do one of two things. I can give into disappointment or I can look for another option. Either way, there is no changing what is.
There is no way to change the world or the virus or the way people react. I have no control over the results or the outcome. The only thing I can influence is my performance. The rest is out of my control.
The idea is to be stoic and not to be hinged upon or addicted to passion in any direction. The idea is to focus on my ability to work and achieve by any configuration.
In The Art of Living, Epictetus writes, “Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within our control and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and cannot control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.”
There is no reason to pretend that we can control anything. There is no reason to take on the world or to take on the ideas of different people as if this is a personal affront. And sure, we can be mad. Sure, we can be frustrated and resentful. There is nothing wrong with our ideas or thoughts and feelings. This is part of us; however, when the emotional and irrational ideas take precedence over logic and we allow them to take the top position over strategy and plans, we run around in a circle, but more to the point; we run the risk of tripping over our own two feet and accomplishing nothing.
I’m not going to lie to you. The world can be a discouraging place. In which case, we can do either one of two things. We can either personalize this or we can keep going and look for the sweep.
Someone once told me, “You and me are in the effort business. Not the result business. We have to understand this. Otherwise, we will be out of business if you know what I mean.”
(I know the grammar is off on the quote, but it sounds right when said with a New York accent.)
In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius wrote, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
We give up too much. We lose sleep over useless trivialities and give away our best efforts to circumstances that are far beyond our control. In which case, we can either do one of two things.
We can either submit to this fact or we can revoke this right and give ourselves the permission to continue without being hinged upon the outcomes that are far beyond our control.
Need a tip?
I have found that one of the secrets of endurance is to be persistent and consistent.
This means keep going. Keep looking for the angle. Look for the sweep. Keep at it. Find your craft. Create your purpose. Build your life according to the blueprints and the plans of your dreams. And above all, do not stop or give way to anything that emotionally interrupts your service.
I can say with confidence: You’ll be glad that you did.