“We have reached the heights if we know what it is that we find joy in and if we have not placed our happiness in the control of externals.” – Seneca
We control internal things, our emotions, our reactions to the world, the thoughts in our minds, the words that come our of our mouths , and the actions we take. This is a fairly comprehensive list. If we can think of something we have control over that doesn’t fall into one of these categories, we should probably reevaluate either our level of control or the nature of the thing itself before thinking about adding a category.
By spending our energy on the things we can control and choosing to not spend our energy on the things we can not control, we free ourselves to consider what we can do about our own happiness in life.
When we recognize how much control we have over our own level of happiness, it frees us to do all we can to maximize our own level of contentment in life.
This will involve more of the things we can control and relying as little as possible – if at all – on the things that lie outside of our control. The less control we have over the thing, the less we should allow it to influence our lives. When we hit on being dependent only on the things we have control over, we will have arrived. At that point we can focus on maximizing our contentment in this life.
virtus fortis vocat