The Daily Stoic for March 18th, “Impossible Without Your Consent”.
“Today I escaped from the crush of circumstances, or better put, I threw them out, for the crush wasn’t from outside me but in my own assumptions.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 9.13”
Today’s stoic suggests that we are the only ones to blame for the things that stress or frustrates us (our job, our boss, etc…).
When I read it, my initial feeling was complete disagreement. Ok, so “… someone can’t frustrate you, work can’t overwhelm you—these are external objects, and they have no access to your mind”. Right, but I don’t know a lot of people that joyfully whistle while their boss is breathing down their necks, and they have impossible deadlines in front of them. Being honest, that level of Stoicism looks more like a super-power to me.
Most Things Are Impossible Without Your Consent
Then, I started to remember when was the last time that I felt that way. It was when I worked at a cubicle… years ago. When I’d had enough, I just quit my job.
So, while I am not probably able to turn a nightmarish situation into a happy one in my mind, I know I can do something about it. Take action. Obviously, quitting my job not only led me to become a solopreneur and the owner of my Estonian company. It also made me a happier, more restful person. I escaped the chains of a grey job, having a boss, traffic jams… and most other external sources of stress.
Hence, in a way, I have to completely agree with today’s stoic. Most things are impossible without your consent. Obviously, some situations are easier than others. If you have to look after your family, or quitting your job is not an immediate option, you have to endure the situation.
However, experience has shown me that most people think they need to endure a situation when they don’t. Sometimes, we resign ourselves because we are afraid of change, or think we are too old, or don’t trust our gut…
Most of the times, those are just excuses.
My first reaction to today’s Daily Stoic, “Impossible without your consent”, was disagreement. How can you be happy or tranquil internally when the boss is yelling at you or your job is a nightmare? Then, I realized that, when that happened to me, I eventually quit my job and started a new path that has led me to happiness. So, in a way, I have to admit today’s stoic nailed it.
With very few exceptions, things are impossible without your consent.