Life is full of decision points. So often it is easy to go with the flow and direction in which I’m already moving. There are times when the right direction is heading in the other direction. Slowly but surely it is becoming easier to get a foothold, push back, and head the right way. Even more slowly it is becoming easier to look ahead without being frustrated and looking back.
One of the pieces of Stoicism I am most appreciative of is the focus on remembering that there is one thing under my control, only one. My response to the world. The world will react as it wants, people will do what they want, and I have no control over that. What I can control are the choices I make (and there is always a choice to make, even not choosing is making a choice) and the attitude I choose as I face the world. With daily practice it is becoming easier to do both. For sure, it is still incredibly difficult to both remember that there is a choice and to choose the right emotional response, but it is ever so slowly becoming easier.
Today I was tested. While I didn’t pass with flying colors I am happy with my response. It was not perfect, but it was much better than my actions would have been even a year or two ago. What made the biggest impacts were choosing the uncomfortable and remembering where my control was to be used. I’ve made mental notes to myself on how to improve this in the future, specifically to waste less time with emotion. Even though it was largely self contained (a big win for me) there was still extra stress and emotional energy used which could have been put to such better uses. At times my focus wasn’t exactly where it should be as my mind drifted back to the other situation. By the end I was able to see that had I just moved to action rather than wallow in emotion more quickly I would have had more space for myself during the day. Once I finally got my head to the right place I reacted almost exactly as I would have liked, only a couple of minor changes. Overall, I passed. Still much work to do, but better than I would have done previously.
True to almost every situation in life when one door closed another opened. With my mind made up, action taken, and attitude chosen I couldn’t help but keep bumping into the bright sides, not just one, but several. Yes, I removed the option I initially wanted most, but several new possibilities opened themselves up and I immediately started taking advantage of them. Had I kept my emotions and attitude pointed in the wrong direction I most likely would have missed these opportunities. By keeping them in check my heart was full. Full of a different joy than expected, but full of joy nonetheless.
It has been a very good day in many aspects of life. The blog I’ve written is actually focused on not just one situation but a couple. The results of these bled into other areas of life and have had a very positive impact. I found purpose in my struggle and it brought great joy.