“To live a good life:
We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference. This is how we learn: by looking at each thing, both the parts and the whole. Keeping in mind that none of them can dictate how we perceive it. They don’t impose themselves on us. They hover before us, unmoving. It is we who generate the judgments – inscribing them on ourselves. And we don’t have to. We could leave the page blank – and if a mark slips through, erase it instantly.
Remember how brief is the attentiveness required. And then our lives will end.
And why is it so hard when things go against you? If it’s imposed by nature, accept it gladly and stop fighting it. And if not, work out what your own nature requires, and aim at that, even if it brings you no glory.
None of us is forbidden to pursue our own good.” - Marcus Aurelius
Many precious moments are wasted through the obsession over trivialities. I myself have been guilty in times past of getting upset about being cut off in traffic, cut in front of in line, misunderstood, falsely accused, under-appreciated, overlooked and so on, matters which, in retrospect, amounted to nothing more than struggling with that which made no difference.
When you give your attention to that which makes no difference, you:
- Waste your energy
- Don’t do that which you should have (and could have) done in that moment
- Fail to prepare for that which is yet to come
I have learned since that all circumstances are neutral. They cannot demand a particular perception or reaction, they simply are. To say that someone or something caused me to react in such-and-such a way is to deny my capacity of free will. To do so is to act in weakness, indecision and error where there ought to be strength, resolve and right action.