Take moment right now to think of a situation that seems to make you upset or irritated… Practice distinguishing between the aspects under your direct control, and those not. You could draw two-columns on a piece of paper headed “control” and “not control”, or use the HTML form below.
[q_question title=”Two-Column Form” text=”First consider how much control you have over the situation, while thinking about it right now. Probably not much because it’s in the past, right? But remember that you do still have some control over the way you think about it and respond, and that, in turn, may affect how you feel about it.” items=”1. What’s the problem you want to evaluate?|2. How much control do you have over the situation?|3. Why don’t you have zero control?|4. Why don’t you have complete control?|5. What would happen if you adopted a more “philosophical” (Stoic) attitude toward the things beyond your control?” comments=”Try to describe the troubling scenario you’re imagining as concisely and objectively as possible.|Rate your control over the situation as a whole, including your reactions, from 0-100%.|If you rated it above zero, then what aspects are actually under your direct control? Try to draw up a short list.|If you rated it below 100%, then what aspects are not under your direct control? Try to draw up a short list.|Consider how it might change things, over the longer-term, if you were to consistently focus on doing the things that are up to you to the best of your ability while completely accepting that other aspects are simply beyond your direct control.” sizes=”2,1,3,3,2″ feedback=”Are you sure you identified your level of control correctly? Take a moment to think about your responses above and modify them if necessary.” debug=”FALSE”/]
The Stoic Handbook
Sign up today for our free email course on the Stoic Handbook. You'll receive weekly emails with my commentary on passages from Epictetus.