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If something's out of your control, should you still worry about it? | Oliver Burkeman

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https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/apr/10/if-somethings-out-of-your-control-should-you-still-worry-about-it-oliver-burkeman

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If something's out of your control, should you still worry about it? | Oliver Burkeman
Recently - oh, no particular reason - I've found myself returning to the ancient philosophical idea known as "the dichotomy of control". "Some things are within our power, while others are not," wrote Epictetus, the Greek Stoic, in a line you'd be justified in dismissing as obvious, if it weren't for the fact that we ignore its ramifications every day, and suffer as a result.

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What we can control

What we can control

In every situation, there are things we can control and things we can’t. We can control what we say or do, but trying to control what we can't is a recipe for anxiety and stress.

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Knowing what we can control

If we could manage never to fret about things we can’t control, then life would proceed calmly. However, the truth of this statement can't bring peace of mind by itself.

One of the many thin...

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The dichotomy of control

A preliminary tool is to separate what you can control from what you can't. But you will only have peace of mind if you begin taking action in the realm of what you can control.

We ofte...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

One of the reasons why Stoicism is enjoying a revival today is that it gives concrete answers to moral questions.

Aristotle gave us an alternative conception of happiness

It cannot be acquired by pleasurable experiences but only by identifying and realizing our own potential, moral and creative, in our specific environments, with our particular family, friends and colleagues, and helping others to do so. 

A practical philosophical school

Stoicism became popular in the Roman Empire. Slaves like Epictetus, rich people like Seneca or emperors like Marcus Aurelius found guidance for life in it.

Events don’t upset you

Beliefs about events do. Bad feelings are caused by irrational beliefs, so if you’re feeling negative emotions, focus on the belief you hold about what happens. 

For stoics there is no good or bad, there’s only perception. And you control perception. 

Control what you can

Ignore the rest. We worry about things that we have no control over. But worrying never fixed anything

The stoics are saying that if you focus your energy on what you can change, you’re going to be a lot more productive and effective. 

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Inversion

Is the way of thinking in which you consider the opposite of what you want.

Inversion puts a spotlight on errors and roadblocks that are not obvious at first glance. What if the opposi...

The "kill the company" strategy

The idea is to identify challenges and points of failure so you can develop a plan to prevent them ahead of time.

Imagine the most important goal or project you are working on right now. Then fast forward 6 months and assume the project or goal has failed. Tell the story of how it happened and ask yourself, “What could cause this to go horribly wrong?”

Inversion and productivity

Applying inversion to productivity you could ask, “What if I wanted to decrease my focus? How do I end up distracted?” 

The answer to these question may help you discover interruptions you can eliminate to free up more time and energy each day.

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