“If you have assumed a character above your strength, you have acted in a manner that is unbecoming to yourself and you have neglected the things that you could have accomplished.” – Epictetus
Biting off more than we can chew. We all do it. We all watch other people do it and secretly judge them even though we are equally guilty. There are so many reasons we choose to take on more than we can handle or attempt things which we should have known we were not capable of.
It is easy for us to look at others and think that they were arrogant or overconfident and made the decision to take on more than they could handle or tried to do something that was “above their station.”
But we don’t control others and it is not our place to judge their actions, especially when we do not know their minds. In our own lives, in our own hearts are we taking on tasks that are outside of our ability to complete out of hubris? Maybe but probably not.
More likely, we are trying to help as much as possible. Maybe we do not realize how difficult a job will be. Maybe we think we have more time. Maybe we are being impatient and we want to see results of our efforts before those results are really ready to be apparent.
So often, it comes back to control. We do not control how quickly certain things in life happen, we do not control the actions or thoughts of others, we do not control the natural order of the universe, and so we are left to control the things we can. Our efforts, our thoughts, and our reaction to the world around us.
We should recognize the things we are capable of, we should recognize the amount of time we actually have available, and we should stay within our sphere of control.
And when we find ourselves outside that sphere of control, we should ask for help.
virtus fortis vocat