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All You Control is How You Play

Daily Stoic Emails

It would be wonderful if teams didn’t cheat and refs always got the calls right. It’d be wonderful if people in the media knew what they were talking about and didn’t stake out positions just to be controversial or contrarian. It’d be wonderful if other politicians operated in good faith and put country above partisanship. It’d be wonderful if drivers were courteous and followed all the rules of the road. 

But we know that this is simply not how things go. They never have, and they never will. 

So where does that leave us? It leaves us to focus on the one thing we can control. As Marcus Aurelius wrote, it doesn’t matter what other people say or think, it only matters what you do.

An athlete doesn’t control the weather or the conditions on the field. They only control how they play. A politician doesn’t control the game of politics, only how they choose to play it. We don’t control whether we get credit for our good deeds, or whether our hard work is noticed. We don’t control the economy. We don’t control whether we were born rich or poor. What we control is what we do in response. What you control is how you play. 

You control how you play.

Not whether you win.

You control how you play.

Not if people like you. 

You control how you play.

Not if the crowd cheers you on. 

You control how you play.

That’s it.

P.S. This was originally sent on January 6, 2019. Sign up today for the Daily Stoic’s email and get our popular free 7-day course on Stoicism.