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How To Be Happy When Life Ruins Your Plans

Last week, we talked about how to handle criticism like a stoic. This week, we’ll discuss how to be happy when life gets hard.

Life is full of trouble. But what is trouble, really? Is it an objective thing?

If it were, then what troubles one person would have to trouble every other person, too, right? However, we know that isn’t true: what troubles one person is sometimes considered completely acceptable by another.

So if trouble isn’t a thing that happens to us, then what is it?

Like many of the concepts we talk about, trouble is a choice. Specifically, we choose to be troubled when we cling to certain outcomes which are beyond our control.

Here are some of the things we cling to, even though they aren’t ours:

  • Our jobs
  • Our possessions
  • Our relationships
  • Our lives

However, of all the things we cling to in life, there is one thing we tend to grasp the hardest: our future goals. The irony is, that which we tend to hold most firmly, our future, is the thing that is furthest from our grasp.

Quote Of The Week

“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” – Seneca

The Law of Letting Go

Now, I want you to imagine you are an astronaut, holding firmly to a piece of debris that’s carrying you in a direction you don’t want to go. 

This debris is your anchor. It’s the only familiar thing you can cling to in the cold, dark chaos of space. Even though you know it’s carrying you to your doom, you’re afraid to let go, because you don’t want to face the unknown.

You have two options. You can continue to embrace what’s familiar, all the while resenting your lack of control. Or, with a single second of courage, you can let go and push yourself in a new direction.

This is the Law of Letting Go. When you choose to leave what is comfortable behind, you acquire a new trajectory. 

You can’t always choose your destination. But you can choose your flight path.

Eventually, you’ll find that the more you let go of, the further you’ll fly.

Question Of The Week

Are you clinging to something in your life that’s pulling you in a direction you don’t want to go? What could happen if you released your plans, and chose a different path?

Live On Purpose // Die Without Regrets

Each Wednesday, I publish a 3-5 minute newsletter + video podcast that applies ancient wisdom to modern life.

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