what you can control

Ta eph’hemin, ta ouk eph’hemin is a Stoic saying dating back two millennia which translates “What is up to us, what is not up to us.” Philosophically, it means releasing that which is beyond our control and focusing our thoughts and energies on that which we can impact. We will be more productive and more relaxed once we cease spinning our wheels on things we can do nothing about (this includes worrying once we have taken all reasonable steps) and instead turn our minds toward those things where we can make a difference.

The Stoic’s philosophy was simple and logical: “(T)he path to happiness is found in accepting this moment as it presents itself, by not allowing ourselves to be controlled by our desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using our minds to understand the world around us and to do our part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others in a fair and just manner.” – Wikipedia

To a certain degree “what is up to us, what is not up to us” is a matter of choice and priorities. Life presents us with many opportunities and challenges, including ways to better ourselves, our communities, our world; we cannot accept them all. To be most effective in the areas we do choose to get involved, it behooves us to fully release the remainder.

Closing Quotes:

“Would you have a great empire? Rule over yourself.” — Publilius Syrus, 85–43 BC

“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.” – Lao-tsu, 604 BC – 531 BC

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” – Marcus Aurelius, 121 – 180, Emperor of Rome, 161 to 180

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier