“Whoever is least disposed in mind by calamities, and in act struggles most against them, these are the best people in states and in private life.” – Epictetus
We are all going to face difficult situations and sometimes life is just going to seem like one terrible event after another. It is easy to allow it to overwhelm us. It isn’t difficult to find ourselves feeling as if we are standing on our tippy toes in water up to our chin and the waves are getting a little bigger every minute.
And we all know a few people that just seem to weather every storm life sends them without even breaking stride. It is a safe bet that we have all wished we could share their approach to life. But it’s hard to do when we seem to be taking on water at all times.
There is a simple three step process to training our minds to act like those people we admire in a time of crisis.
Step one is to detach from the situations, or all of the situations. We need to stop fighting against the waves and just hold our breath for a minute. By stepping back from the crisis we create some distance, it helps if we look at our own lives as if they belonged to someone else. What would we encourage this person to do? This will lead right into step two.
Step two is to make a list of things we need to tackle, we should list them in order of importance and we should attack each item on the list without giving a second thought to the issue coming up next. By focusing entirely on one task at a time the forces working against us seem smaller and easier to manage. This reduces our stress and allows us to stay detached.
The third and final step is to repeat the above two steps as often as necessary in order to keep the things we can control under our control. This is not going to make life easy but then our goal should not be to have an easy life. Our goal should be to have a challenging but fulfilling life.
By stepping back and seeing our problems from the outside and then attacking our problems one at a time, we can have just that.
virtus fortis vocat