We are almost halfway through 2019. Are you where you want to be? Are you still working toward the goals that you set at the start of the year or did you forget them in February and continue on the same path you were on in 2018?
For most people, nothing changes for the long term from year to year. If you are struggling to move forward, three Stoic principles will help get you on your way. These principles are: (1) control your perceptions; (2) direct your actions properly; and, (3) willingly accept what’s outside your control.
“All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.” Marcus Aurelius
1. Control your perceptions
One of the few things we can control are our thoughts. Do we allow negative self-talk to beat us down and keep us from achieving what we want? When someone pisses us off, are we reactive and attack them back? No matter what happens to us during the day, our perception of the event is under our control. If we allow others to dictate our mood, it is much easier to get angry and upset. At times, defending ourselves is justified. However, most of the time it is not worth the hassle. When someone talks bad about you or trashes your work, it is their insecurities that trigger the statements, not you. When I experience this, I try to remind myself that we are all struggling in some way and have our own issues and insecurities.
2. Direct your actions properly
Directing our actions properly is also within our control. Do you look at Facebook and Instagram all day or do you put in the hard work to better yourself? Are you present when you are with family and friends or always on your phone? Do you give your time to help others? Are you taking the right steps to achieve your goals? These can be difficult for all of us, but if you are want to improve your life, they are important.
Since starting my own business, there are days when I struggle to do what I know I need to do to move forward. When I experience this, I use Mel Robbins’ 5-second rule
, which involves counting “5-4-3-2-1-GO” and moving towards action. This forces me into taking the action I know I needed to take. If we want to be in a different place one year from now, we must take the proper actions today.
3. Willingly accept what’s outside your control
Our thoughts and our actions are all we control. We must willingly accept this and move on. We do not control other’s responses to our work. No matter what we do in life, some people will hate it, some will love it, and some won’t care. We cannot worry about all of the negative news or gossip going on in our social and professional circles. This information will do nothing to move us forward in life. In fact, they are parasitic. Turn off the news and the friends or co-workers who constantly talk about others. We cannot worry about these petty issues. We must keep pushing forward, doing our work and eventually what we want will all come together.
As I struggle through the ups and downs of running my own business, these principles help me immensely and I hope they do the same for you. Let’s go ahead and jump into this week’s links.