“The essence of good is a certain kind of reasoned choice; just as the essence of evil is another kind. What about externals, then? They are only the raw material for our reasoned choice, which finds its own good or evil in working with them. How will it find the good? Not by marveling at the material! For if judgments about the material are straight that makes our choices good, but if those judgments are twisted, our choices turn bad.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 1.29.1–3
Stoics seek steadiness. I think most of us do.
Since the dawn of mankind, we have tried to bring clarity and stability to the chaos.
While that might be easy if you live in the countryside and don’t need to worry about money, for most of us is no easy task.
In fact, modern life doesn’t help us reaching that goal. Work, stress, traffic jams, and our daily routine get on our nerves every day.
I’ve been there.
My Way Of Being Steady-ish
As you may know if you follow my blog regularly, I had quite a stressful, unhappy life in Madrid. I woke up every morning at 6am, and got back at 6pm. Earliest.
All that stress, working in a miserable job I hated, the traffic jams every single day… all of that was ruining my health and even my temper.
Now I realize how urgently I needed this change in my life.
Just by not driving alone, I have considerably reduced my stress levels. I was a mad driver .
I certainly work my hours, but I decide when to start my day, and where I want to work from. It can be a co-working center, a café nearby, or just at home. That also gives you peace of mind, and a sense of tranquility.
If You Want To Be Steady…
… find out what’s not working in your life, and change it.
It’s that simple.
It doesn’t have to be a radical shift. It might be as simple as quitting that job you hate and starting doing something you love. Or it might be taking a year to explore the world. Maybe ending a relationship or having the courage to finally commiting to one.
Right now, your mind may be already articulating some excuses: “but I am too old for that!”, “I need that work” or “How? I have kids!”.
You are the owner of your life. As soon as you start believing that, you will be able to change it.
Those things that bring stress, angst or anger to our lives are, in my opinion, what Epictetus affirm can twist our judgments.
Let’s get rid of them, shall we?
Today’s Daily Stoic discusses how a proper judgment on things is important if you want to be steady and have a more peaceful life. For me, that basically implied getting rid of what wasn’t working in my life.
I have taken some giant steps to get there, but I think I still have a long path to walk…
… and that’s exciting.
Any comments? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us!