Life just drops stuff in our laps, doesn’t it? Exciting things, frustrating things, distractions, temptations and tragedies. It has a strange habit of dropping on us the exact thing we don’t need right now. Often all at once. What a great philosophy like Stoicism reminds us of is that this is both a reminder of our cosmic impotence in this world as well as a reminder of the great power within each one of us. As the key Stoic tenet goes, we don’t control what happens to us, but we do control our response.
–But there are external obstacles…
Not to behaving with justice, self-control, and good sense.
–Well, but perhaps to some more concrete action.
–But if you accept the obstacle and work with what you’re given, an alternative will present itself–another piece of what you’re trying to assemble. Action by action.
You can still practice honesty, forgiveness, friendship, patience, humility, good spirit, resilience, creativity, and on and on. That’s what Marcus was saying. The specifics of the situation dictate the possibilities. But there are always possibilities. Quite a lot of them in fact. Only if we choose to embrace them.
Day by day. Action by action.