The Daily Stoic for September 21st, “Maintain Composure, Maintain Control”.
“When forced, as it seems, by circumstances into utter confusion, get a hold of yourself quickly. Don’t be locked out of the rhythm any longer than necessary. You’ll be able to keep the beat if you are constantly returning to it.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 6.11
Many years ago, I played guitar, flute, and piano in a small band in my hometown. One day we managed to get hired for our first important concert.
That day, everything that could go wrong went wrong. For a weird reason, we were announced as a wind quartet, so people in the audience came there expecting a chamber music show… While we were more like a symphonic jazz indie combo (huh?). We had lots of problems with the PA and the equipment… Everything was a mess.
Maintain Composure, Maintain Control
Then, when we started playing, and I strummed my first chord in my old guitar, for some weird reason, it went completely out of tune instantly. The six strings. All of them. I could not believe it. But then, I had a look at the bass player, who looked at me and smiled, and I couldn’t help but smile too.
I played the worst initial song in the history of mankind. Completely out of tune. Then we stopped and I was able to tune my guitar and continue that terrible show. 🙂
In the end, the audience was pretty nice and understanding. While I guess that was not the best concert of their lives… We all had some fun.
The interesting thing is how I managed to maintain composure, maintain control as today’s stoic meditation says. I wonder if, as time goes by, we lose that ability to laugh at this kind of missteps. Looking back, that concert was not that important in my life. So I guess there’s an important lesson to remember here.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Maintain Composure, Maintain Control”, makes an interesting metaphor about maintaining composure and control even when something goes wrong. That made me think of my boyhood, and how different things looked to my 20-something self.