The Addition Coming From You

Epictetus once told his students: “He was sent to prison. But the observation ‘he has suffered evil,’ is an addition coming from you.” Think about how often we do this: A client parts ways with us and we say we’ve “lost” them. Someone says something to us and we describe it as “being attacked.” We are singled out and we complain that it’s “unfair.”

All these events were objective. It was the addition coming from us that deemed it bad, unfair, or a loss. It goes the other way too. We win and we say we were blessed. The market goes up and we call it a gain. We get a new position and call it a promotion. These are just more additions from us.

The Stoics don’t pay attention to that. They leave things as they are. Whether you got fired or got a new position—it’s just an event. No reason to add to it—that it was good or bad. It just is. And when you embrace that fact, you can work with it, make the most of it, whatever it is.

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