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Day 12: The One Path to Serenity

“Keep this thought at the ready at daybreak, and through the day and night—there is only one path to happiness, and that is in giving up all outside of your sphere of choice, regarding nothing else as your possession, surrendering all else to God and Fortune.”

EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 4.4.39

Now if you have followed my blog all along till now there is one general theme or idea that comes up in every blog. Letting go of control of things that are external to you. In this discourse, Epictetus just reminds us to keep this thought in our mind through out the day.

In most of my other daily stoic posts I give tips & ideas on how to adopt the above stated principle in our life and what I interpret from it, but in this post I will just go on to repeat what Ryan Holiday because whatever he said in the book is just so beautiful and so relevant.

This morning, remind yourself of what is in your control and what’s not in your control. Remind yourself to focus on the former and not the latter.

Start your morning with a reminder of what is in your control and what isn’t will help you have a good start. A good morning translates to a good day and that eventually translates to good life.

Before lunch, remind yourself that the only thing you truly possess is your ability to make choices (and to use reason and judgment when doing so). This is the only thing that can never be taken from you completely.

Now as we get busy when the day progresses one should really pause to remind ourselves that even though things are not in our control, our reactions to it are. We have the ability to choose how we react to a particular situation or person and this freedom can not be taken away from any individual.

In the afternoon, remind yourself that aside from the choices you make, your fate is not entirely up to you. The world is spinning and we spin along with it—whichever direction, good or bad.

And as the day progresses, you might find success or failures in your day but a Stoic must know that lies in his/her control is only effort and they can’t control the outcome of their results. So, don’t be discouraged by failures and just keep going

In the evening, remind yourself again how much is outside of your control and where your choices begin and end.

In the evening, retrospect your day and see how the day went, what part of it were under your control, what are choices you made, what are your reactions to events. This is the most important step because it will make you realize where you slipped throughout the day. Our life is nothing but a continuous cycle of self-improvement to become a better version of ourselves everyday.

As you lie in bed, remember that sleep is a form of surrender and trust and how easily it comes. And prepare to start the whole cycle over again tomorrow.

And in the end, finish your day with gratitude. Surrender yourself to what doesn’t lie in your control and trust that the things will take the best course themselves.

Published inPhilosophy & IdeasStoicism

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