Daily Stoicism: Control and Choice

Epictetus asks rhetorically where to do we look for good and evil? Within the externals that we have no control over or the choices that we control. Obviously things that we have no control over should not affect our happiness or outlook and yet so often we look at these externals as reflections of who we are, or some outcome of choices that we made. When we missed our connect flight by 2 minutes due to a delay I yelled my head off and acted really salty to the women at the gate, but it had no affect on the situation other than darkening my outlook.

AA uses the serenity prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

While I am not an alcoholic, nor in AA, nor believe in god, the premise is spot on. In fact, knowing the difference is the first part I will tackle. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in things that I cannot control that in a lot of cases I can’t discern what I can’t control vs what I can.