The Daily Stoic for February 28th. “When you lose control”.
“The soul is like a bowl of water, and our impressions are like the ray of light falling upon the water. When the water is troubled, it appears that the light itself is moved too, but it isn’t. So, when a person loses their composure it isn’t their skills and virtues that are troubled, but the spirit in which they exist, and when that spirit calms down so do those things.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.3.20–22
Toady’s stoic passage reminds us that our errors today won’t haunt us forever. I completely agree with that.
As an example, throughout my life, I’ve made hundreds of mistakes. From buying a house to spending so much time and energy in a job or a life I hated.
However, here I am today, living the life that I want, a wanderer traveling the world, managing my own company and working on the stuff I love. It was not always like this. I have done a lot of stuff in my life. I have worked on many different things, and I have messed up badly sometimes. The lesson I have learned is: you are never too old to change your life.
What To Do When You Lose Control
Nonetheless, you will eventually mess it up. It’s a fact. We all do sometimes.
When that happens, in spite of stoicism, philosophy and all your good intentions, it’s time for an apology.
I’ve always thought that the most difficult words to say are “I’m sorry”. But once you do, honestly, it takes a weight off your shoulders.
Ocasionally, that “I’m sorry” is not for the other person, but for you. We need sometimes to let go what we did and realize that we can continue with our lives. I think today’s stoic tries to tell us exactly that.
After the storm comes the calm.
Today’s Daily Stoic reminds us that in the end, everything’s temporary. When you lose control, just stop, take a deep breath, and let the tranquility come back to you again. You messed up, so what? A sincere apology is the best way of moving on and continue with your life.