#15 - How To Be The Captain Of Your Soul | Epictetus
No one is ever unhappy because of someone else.
- Quote by Epictetus from beststoicquotes.com
I have found this to be very true.
I used to get worked up a lot at university about the futility of the curriculum.
Semester after semester, I lamented about how little most of the things taught in class were actually relevant for any future job.
Classes usually required you to binge study some theoretical material without any sense of context or real life utility.
That really made me mad at the time, as I could not possibly understand how the professors could live with themselves, teaching such nonsensical stuff.
But what I actually was mad about was that I let myself be forced to go to university through social pressure, instead of studying on my own.
It was not that I was not interested, it was only that their teaching style was utterly incompatible with my learning style.
I failed to just cut my losses, take the syllabus, and design my own learning path.
After much frustration I finally stopped going to classes, only looked at the given material, summarized it, did some research, and then only went back to write the exam. Classic Pareto efficiency (which they actually told us about in an economics class, and inspired me to skip classes 😉).
And guess what — it worked.
I was much happier. I still had to deal with their syllabus, but I did it on my own terms.
Before, I just complained about the situation, but did nothing about it.
Afterwards, I accepted that I didn’t like the whole system, but committed to finishing my degree. Therefore, I accepted that I needed to follow some of their rules — but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t as little rules and old, dusty methods as possible for me.
Anything you are upset about is a lack of judgement on your side.
A failure to expect the correct outcome, as it would occur.
You were not living in accordance to nature, as the Stoics would say.
Did you ever get worked up that someone did something you didn’t like?
Is it their fault for being who they are?
Is it their fault that you expected them to act one way, and then they acted in their own interest?
It is your fault for not knowing them better.
It is your fault for not seeing the truth as it was laid out before you.
And even if something completely unexpected happens, it is your fault for not accounting for the possibility that life is full of surprises.
You need to take ownership of your life, your reactions towards things, your attitude.
You need to live by design, not default.
If you don’t like something — change it.
If you cannot change it — accept it & and adjust your expectations.
Lead a happier life by practicing Amor Fati & Premeditatio Malorum.
Amor Fati: You need to accept the things that are outside of your control as they are and not how you would ideally want them to be.
Premeditatio Malorum: Try to anticipate what might come towards you. Do not waste energy thinking about the most unlikely scenarios. But spend some time thinking about what realistically could go wrong, and have a reaction plan ready if disaster strikes.
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Now wd’d love to hear from you.
What situation have you dealt with where you navigated your way towards a happier life?
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