If you have anger issues, this one is a great tool, H/T mindyourbusiness:
Disclaimer: I’m not your Supervisor. These are my opinions after reading through these books a few times.
“This is why we say that nothing happens to the wise person contrary to their expectations.”
—SENECA, ON TRANQUILITY OF MIND, 13.3b
I did not expect to need surgery last year, nor my wife’s car to blow the head gasket. I am not surprised that these thing happened. I do not expect to lose my job, but if it happens, being surprised and complaining does not help. I try to not be surprised when things happen that are outside of my control, and not waste energy fighting against them. Instead I try to react positively with what I can control.
“What assistance can we find in the fight against habit? Try the opposite!”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 1.27.4
If it works for George Costanza, it might work for me. Anger at the world and my own body did nothing to improve my situation or my state of mind. Trying to look at things a different way gave me patience to wait until I could start working out again. It also has made working on my truck or doing other tasks more enjoyable. I used to like finishing a project, but the actual process was irritating. I recently noticed I was enjoying actually doing the work.
“How does it help, my husband, to make misfortune heavier by complaining about it? This is more fit for a king—to seize your adversities head on. The more precarious his situation, the more imminent his fall from power, the more firmly he should be resolved to stand and fight. It isn’t manly to retreat from fortune.”
—SENECA, OEDIPUS, 80
Complaining doesn’t help. When things piss me off, yelling changes nothing. Instead it takes energy and focus from how to best deal with the problem. Too much complaining will also make people less likely to want to hang out with me or help me.
“Philosophy calls for simple living, but not for penance—it’s quite possible to be simple without being crude.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 5.5
There is no need to punish myself when I screw up. It is important to be aware of what happened and the cause, so I can learn from it and avoid repetition. Going beyond that and either mentally berating myself or denying myself something to make a point to myself is counter productive and a waste of energy.
“It is possible to curb your arrogance, to overcome pleasure and pain, to rise above your ambition, and to not be angry with stupid and ungrateful people—yes, even to care for them.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.8
I have trouble with the first statement, because I am a fairly arrogant guy. Overcoming pleasure and pain is simple for me, and I don’t really have a lot of ambition to rise above. It is very difficult for me not to be angry with stupid people, but I will get to test this when I visit my Mother next month. I know it will be a struggle, so I will try to change the subject if necessary.
“While it’s true that someone can impede our actions, they can’t impede our intentions and our attitudes, which have the power of being conditional and adaptable. For the mind adapts and converts
any obstacle to its action into a means of achieving it. That which is an impediment to action is turned to advance action. The obstacle on the path becomes the way.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 5.20
Things won’t go the way I planned many times. Looking back there have been benefits to this. I planned on not getting married until I was 30. Instead I had a daughter and a wife at 22. There would have been something missing from my life now without those two. I was planning on getting out of the Marines and becoming a WV state trooper, but my knee was bugging me and I wasn’t sure I could finish the academy, so I reenlisted. Definitely dodged a bullet there. Now when things go against my plans, I will try to look for the advantage instead of realizing it later.
“Whatever anyone does or says, for my part I’m bound to the good. In the same way an emerald or gold or purple might always proclaim: ‘whatever anyone does or says, I must be what I am and show my true colors.’”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 7.15
I am not a fake person, my true colors are pretty easy to see. My wife calls me a natural christian(even though I’m not religious) because of my strict moral code and direct nature. Part of being “bound to the good” is the study of a guiding philosophy, as well as the desire to improve by following it.
Music this week is in commemoration of our 28th wedding anniversary. we didn’t do much, just drove to Williamsburg for BBQ and then sat on the deck and talked while I drank a few beers and she drank Baileys over ice. During the drive we listened to music we enjoyed while we were dating.
Badlands: High Wire
Masters of Reality: The Candy Song
Drivin’ and Cryin’: Wild Dog Moon