The Daily Stoic for July 3rd. “Turn HAVE TO into GET TO”.
“The task of a philosopher: we should bring our will into harmony with whatever happens, so that nothing happens against our will and nothing that we wish for fails to happen.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 2.14.7
So today’s stoic excerpt asks us to change our points of view about the world. Instead of seeing our tasks for the day as something we have to do, it suggests us to see them as things we get to do.
Here the emphasis is on being privileged enough as to get to do those things. Does that work for me?
Turn HAVE TO into GET TO
I have talked before about how, in a mindfulness class, some years ago, the teacher asked us to do a simple exercise: imagining a task we dislike -like washing the dishes- and try to enjoy every minute of it, focusing on the feeling of the dish, the running water… stuff like that.
If I am completely honest with you, I didn’t get it at all. I understand that your point of view can make a huge difference in how you experience a situation. That’s why time is such a subjective entity. But *enjoying* it was a really bold statement.
While I have taken some steps in that direction, and I look at things I dislike from a more stoic perspective now, I can’t help but see this exercise as a semantic game.
And that’s probably my problem. If I see it as a self-deception, I’ll probably never get into it. “Wow, how privileged I am, I get to be stuck in a traffic jam for one whole hour today! What an opportunity for trying to memorize the plates of the cars around mine!”… No, that’s not going to work for me.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Turn HAVE TO into GET TO”, discusses a difficult concept for me to grasp. Instead of seeing our daily tasks and duties as things we *have to* do, we need to see them as things we are fortunate enough to *get to* do.
I think I need a lot more stoicism in my life to reach that mindset. 🙂