Half Man Half Noodle

So what if it rains, that’s why you have a coat

Yes, but my nose runs.

For what purpose then idiot have you hands? Is it not that you may wipe your nose? – Epictetus: Discourses.

We have been given a body and mind to allow us to do and think. What more do we want? The attributes of fortitude, courage and patience also. These allow us to deal with adversity. Why worry about what will happen in the future? Or dwell on events in the past. Do we not possess all the qualities needed to deal with these scenarios when they arise? Maybe we worry because we don’t have the skill to deal with future scenarios. Then spend the winter in training. Why waste time in a state of worry when we can use it to prepare.

Epictetus talks about God giving us strength to tolerate troubles without being humiliated or undone, he has given them to us free from constraint, compulsion and impediment. He has put the whole matter in our control but “you still don’t use them, because you still don’t realize what you have.” Nothing is ever enough, why must we have to do more? Why can’t we lie in bed and live that life of luxury without the effort? It’s so unfair.

Many of our troubles in life arise as a result of our perception of control. Worry is a subset of this. If you felt you were in control, why would you worry? What we need to realise is that we are only in control of our own actions, in this very moment. We can’t control others, we can’t control nature, we can’t even control future us. As a result, we adapt to situations depending on what we want to do in that moment. If I want to go for a walk but it’s raining, what can I control? I can put on a coat or choose to stay inside. Do I want to sacrifice my goal in this moment or my comfort? That’s up to you. What if I don’t have a coat but need to go across the city? I can walk or pay for a taxi. I have options within my control, but the rain is not an option, only how I deal with it.

Stripped down to the most basic components, our lives are a series of decisions based on what we feel we want in that moment. Some argue it doesn’t really matter what decision you make, as long as you make a decision. You can’t control the outcome of these decisions anyway so let that thought go. The more you try to control situations outside of your being the more disappointed you will be.

Bring a coat, or don’t.