Stoicism And The Past, Future & Anxiety
Time is the most precious commodity we have, the time you’ve spent cannot be recovered, nor can you purchase any additional time regardless of how many zeros you have on the end of your bank account.
“Two elements must therefore be rooted out once for all – the fear of future suffering, and the recollection of past suffering; since the latter no longer concerns me, and the former concerns me not yet.” – Marcus Aurelius
As Seneca says in the classic stoic text “On The Shortness Of Life” we have a sufficient amount of time for accomplishment if, and only IF we spend our time wisely.
Whether you’re building an online business, building a breathtaking physique, becoming a subject matter expert you’re going to need to dedicate your time, energy and focus on the present.
You need to channel laser-like vision to enter the state of flow required to do great work and build great things.
You must be mindful, you must be present.
You cannot be present if you’re focused on anything other than the now.
What’s in the past is in the past– nothing we do will change that.
We must willingly accept the past and refuse to let it have any impact on us today. What is done is done. We have only so much energy and effort to draw from in a day so why waste it on the uncontrollable. Also, these thoughts of the past are only perceptions; these perceptions are not facts.
Thinking that there is some benefit to be had from going over the past, particularly mistakes or unfavourable decisions is pointless.
Learn your lesson, take stock of it free yourself and move on – it’s your decision.
Some people like to wander in the cemetery of their past errors, to reread the old epitaphs and to spend hours in mourning over the grave of a wrong. This new mistake does not antidote the old one. The remorse that paralyzes hope, corrodes purpose, and deadens energy is not moral health, it is—an indigestion of the soul that cannot assimilate an act. It is selfish, cowardly surrender to the dominance of the past. It is lost motion in morals; it does no good to the individual, to the injured, to others, or to the world. If the past be unworthy live it down; if it be worthy live up to it and—surpass it.
Do not spend your days wishing for the winning lottery ticket, or ‘needing’ anything.
As Charlie Munger, the Berkshire Hathaway billionaire investor said “to get what you want you have to deserve what you want”.
Spend your time in the present, building.
Do not spend your time in the future, wishing.
The world responds to seed, not need.
Put in the work today, focus on today.
Your energy is best spent planting your seeds today so come the future you will reap the rewards from your days’ work.
AnxietyToday I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions — not outside. - Marcus Aurelius Click To Tweet
We cannot control the actions of others, the weather, or the economy.
We can influence the above, but not control them. The only thing we have complete control over is our beliefs — this once again comes down to perception.
It is not outside forces that make us feel something, it is what we tell ourselves that create our feelings.
An unmarked to-do list does not cause stress – your thoughts about the unmarked to-do list do.
Both stress & conflict begin in your mind, and thus you can only end them with your mind.
It’s Your ChoiceWe are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens - Epictetus Click To Tweet
You will experience pain, but whether you experience suffering or not is up to you.
It’s up to perception.