I came across the following passage in Epictetus’ Discourses this week:
We cry to God Almighty, how can we escape this agony? Fool, don’t you have hands? Or could it be God forgot to give you a pair? Sit and pray your nose doesn’t run! Or rather just wipe your nose and stop seeking a scapegoat.
We can often spend too much time complaining about what is happening to us and around us in our lives. In this complaining, what we are asking is for these events to not have happened. That is impossible. We have a choice: Do we focus on the ways we have been wronged, or do we use what we have been given and get to work? Will we wait for someone to save us, or do we get active in our own rescue?
No one said life is easy. No one said it would be fair. What we should do is talk about how we can fix things so that the situation will not happen again. Or, ask ourselves what we can learn from each situation to make the future better. We always have the choice to be proactive when we know problems are going to occur.
We come from a history of people who survived unimaginable adversity, difficulty, and struggle. No one wants adversity, but we all get it. This year is a prime example.
We must build our life, and our successes, action by action. We must be content when we achieve what we can, big or small, in any given moment — no one can keep us from giving our best regardless of the outcome. There will be obstacles, there always are, but when we tackle obstacles with the lens of getting opportunities to learn and grow, we will find success in those moments.
Keep at it! We can find success together if we keep the right focus.