Focus on what you can control

Massimo Pigliucci writes in Aeon about the power of the stoical perspective, and in particular that of Epictetus, that “if you truly understand the difference between what is and what is not under your control, and act accordingly, you will become psychologically invincible, impervious to the ups and downs of fortune.”

“For example, let’s say that you are preparing your résumé for a possible job promotion. If your goal is to get the promotion, you are setting yourself up for a possible disappointment. There is no guarantee that you will get it, because the outcome is not (entirely) under your control. Sure, you can influence it, but it also depends on a number of variables that are independent of your efforts, including possible competition from other employees, or perhaps the fact that your boss, for whatever unfathomable reason, really doesn’t like you.

That’s why your goal should be internal: if you adopt the Stoic way, you would conscientiously put together the best résumé that you can, and then mentally prepare to accept whatever outcome with equanimity, knowing that sometimes the universe will favour you, and other times it will not. What do you gain by being anxious over something you don’t control? Or angry at a result that was not your doing? You are simply adding a self-inflicted injury to the situation, compromising your happiness and serenity.”

Sage counsel…

About thesocialenterprise

The Social Enterprise was established in 2007 by David Russell to develop creative and innovative approaches for individuals and organisations that seek to deliver social value. We work with charities and businesses, and our starting point on any project is to determine how we will generate a return on investment in our services – whether through a more effective working approach or delivering greater social impact.
This entry was posted in Coaching. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s