Stick With What’s At Hand

The Stoics repeatedly admonish us to return to the present moment and focus on what’s right here in front of us. This idea of being “present” seems very Eastern but of course it’s central to Stoicism too. “Stick with the situation at hand,” Marcus Aurelius tells himself at one point, “and ask, “Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?”

The football coach Nick Saban likes to point out that the average down in football last seven seconds. That’s it. Even when you’re tired, you can probably hold on for seven seconds. Whether you’re winning or losing a game, seven good seconds isn’t that hard–you can manage that. A season might seem long but seven seconds isn’t. His point is that if players stick with the present moment–commit to doing well in those seven seconds–they’ll be fine. They may even win a championship.

So today, stick with what is at hand. Stick with the seven seconds of whatever is in front of you. You’ll find it’s not so unbearable. In fact, it may even become enjoyable.