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Life

How to simplify your problems

Even 2000 years ago, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was facing problems. It will be the same 2000 years from now too. In this statement, lies the key to simplify your problems.

External things are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.

If the problem is something in your own character, who’s stopping you from setting your mind straight?

And if it’s that you’re not doing something you think you should be, then why not just do it? – Marcus Aurelius¬†

Firstly, he is telling us not to blame external factors, as they are not in our control. The problem is in how we view them. Take responsibility for the state of your life. There’s no benefit in blaming others, it gives you a get out of jail free card preventing you from taking action. If it’s outside of your control, then stop worrying about it. What can you do if it’s not in your control? This applies to the behaviour of others that we find frustrating. The sound of someone chewing loudly or the guy who microwaves tuna in the lunchroom. You can’t control their behaviour but you can remove yourself from the situation or put in headphones. Apply this to all areas of your life.

Secondly, Aurelius is putting responsibility squarely in our hands. If you want to change, then change. It’s that simple. We like to come up with a list of excuses why we can’t do things in this moment. If it’s not in your control then why worry or complain? “I want a different job but I don’t have any other skills.” Are you working towards building new skills? If so, then the opportunity will arise as you continue with the work. If not, then don’t complain. What is stopping you from upskilling? Not enough time? You have an abundance of time but if you’re “too busy” then you need to manage your time better. Start saying no to engagements that are less important.

In conclusion, we tend to make things overly complex. Simplify your problems. Only spend time looking at what is in your control. Highlight what your problem is, research what you need to do to solve it, then get to work. Simple.