Raging At The Wrong Thing

A flight is delayed 30 minutes and it’s frustrating. You want to get home so badly. But now you’re sitting there waiting for a crew member to meander through the terminal so the plane can board. Why are they doing this to me? we think, I’ll never get this 30 minutes with my family back.

It’s true and that is frustrating. It does suck that the airline took that from you. And yet, how soon after you’re home will you find yourself wasting 30 additional minutes? How likely is it that, once you’re back in control, you will steal that same time from your family or more?

There is a line that Marcus quotes from Euripides. “You shouldn’t give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don’t care at all.” As if that anger would accomplish anything. Isn’t it interesting how we rage at the things that are outside our control—the airline, traffic, what other people do to you—but when we do the same things to ourselves or worse, suddenly the reproaches stop?

The world is going to take things from you. It’s going to take time from you, energy from you, money from you. It’s even going to take other people from you. It’s going to do this whether you like it or not. It leaves a little left over for us, a small scrap of control remains in our hands. All that’s up to us then, is what we do with that.

So if we’re going to be upset about anything, if we’re going to criticize or critique, there is only one place to aim it: There. At what’s up to us. At the little bit we squander and waste unnecessarily. Because it can actually make a difference.

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