It’s hard to complain right now. It’s about 0530 on a Sunday before the kids get up. I’m warm and comfortable drinking coffee in front of something that both brings me joy and income. It is hard to think I should be anywhere else. Maybe the gym though.
But the sad thing is, only probably about 5% of my day I have this feeling. The rest of the time I’m constantly pinging. Thinking about how late I am on the road to get somewhere, or is this really what I should be working on.
Being more Stoic
I wrote in my last post about how I feel I could be living someone else’s life. Just waiting to wake up. It’s kind of crazy the things I get to work on and do with my day. But I need to remind myself, it’s where I’m supposed to be. Even if I don’t always feel I deserve it, I’ve done the things that brought me to this point.
At the end of that post, I shared a link to a blog from The Daily Stoic. The blog is also in podcast form and for reference here are the links to that post again and the audio format:
I binged the podcast episodes, and favorited the ones I really wanted to focus on. This allowed me to get caught up and now I can listen to the 2-3 minutes every morning to ground myself. I recommend everyone try to listen every day. I’ve been following Ryan Holiday and his work for a couple years. Daily Stoic is great. I digress.
A ton of bricks
When I came to this episode, I had to listen multiple times. It hit me pretty hard. I’ve always been pretty hard on myself in the past about not doing, being, and having more in the past. I’ve spoke to people before about how by now I thought I would have made or done something pretty big. My ambition has led to what feels like nothing.
While the episode’s example doesn’t port real well into my situation, or yours either maybe, in the greater context of stoic philosophy it made me realize what I HAD accomplished so far. Just because it hasn’t been exactly what I want, or how I had pictured it previously, doesn’t mean everything so far hasn’t led to where I am.
At every moment rather late, early, stuck behind a red light, standing at a copier making copies, getting coffee, giving a presentation you don’t want, or even wiping butts, you are where you are supposed to be. You might not want to be there at that exact moment, but everything you’ve done to this point got you here. If you’re not somewhere else, you probably aren’t ready to be there yet because you haven’t done the work or put yourself in that postion just yet. Not that it won’t happen. It just might take a litte more time or a different set of actions.
It’s a tough way to look at it, but the stoics would tell you the hard truth.
Satisfied with where you are in career and life?
Here’s a more day-to-day example. Maybe you’re more like me with regards to routine.
I’m late to daycare with the kids nearly every morning. I slack in the morning. But it is for good reason. Taking an extra moment to lay with the kids on the couch and watch ‘Moww’ (Evan’s way of saying Mickey Mouse) makes me late. Those extra moments could have just as easily saved me from getting rear-ended at a light on a morning the roads are slick.
The sick and crazy reality is +/- 1 minute in either direction could have put me and my family in some serious danger. Even more frustrating is I’ll never know. I just have to trust that I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
It might not help you but it’s helped me slow down a little bit. I start to feel it in my chest. Things get tight like someone is cinching a belt around my sholders. When I’m late or something stupid happens in the checkout line, I can better recognize that it’s not that big of a deal, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. Because it will take me to where I’m supposed to be.
You should take a listen. Tell me what you think. It’s only a couple minutes.
Are you where you are supposed to be?
What do you want or need that now that you read/listen to this you realize you probably aren’t quite ready for?
UPDATE: The morning I wrote this (January 26th, 2020) was same day that professional basketball ledgend Kobe Bryant perished in a helicopter crash. To make matters worse, he had with him his youngest daugher and seven other people.
It’s hard to take this post and say that any of those individuals were exactly where they were supposed to be. That’s not what this post is about. The stoics have a lot to say about death.
The point here is to relize that the time you have here is fleeting. Be sure you are using it wisely and take advantage of every moment you have or opportunity you are given. If nothing else, this tragic event should make anyone with a family realize that this could all be over at any second. Taking a few extra moments on the couch in the morning might not be such a bad idea.