The temptation exists for all of us to let our imagination run wild envisioning all the ways things can go wrong. Of course, such an exercise can be useful in preparing us for the future and making us ready for adversity, but Marcus Aurelius well understood that it can become crippling fear that will paralyze us from any useful action. As he put it,
“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, “Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?” You’ll be embarrassed to answer.
Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you. Only the present—and even that can be minimized. Just mark off its limits. And if your mind tries to claim that it can’t hold out against that…well, then, heap shame upon it.”