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A Simple Mind Trick to be Happier

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How dividing makes things easier to conquer.

The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matter so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals and not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control... - Epictetus, Discourses, 2.5.4-5

Sometimes we want to control everything; we want to be a perfectionist. We want to do everything ourselves because we think we do things better. Delegating is hard because for some it means losing control.

The biggest problem is not the over control, but to react and judge assuming we are the decision makers of the world. In other words, we respond as if we own any external factors that affect us, but there's a big difference between what we can change to what we can't change.

Do you have any influence?

A simple way to think about this is by asking: Do you have any influence over this?

Your flight was delayed because of the storm - Do you have any influence over this?

No matter how much you yell, you won't have any leverage in the weather.

You got turn down - Do you have any influence over this?

It depends. You can hustle, but if they don't really want you, you won't force them to like you.

The Uber is taking forever to arrive and you are later - Do you have any influence over this?

At that particular moment no. You should have prepared and order it with enough time.

Damn, I'm a short guy (I hated this when I was young) - Do I have any influence over this?

Nein.*

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We spent our time and energy going around ourselves with these unchangeable events, actions, and objects. We get mad and frustrated by things that we can't change; we can only change they way we react to them.

By differentiating what we have influence and what we do not, will allow you to have a better piece of mind. In other words, reducing the number of f*cks you give to the world.

When my parents got divorced, I was mad about it, and I was angry by things, done by my dad, my mom, my sister and myself. I kept being disappointed by the breaking family I had for months, but I realize I can't change the past, but I can bend the future.

In the end, we cannot undo the choices that have been made in the past, nor to change the choices of outside events.

If you can focus on making clear what parts of your day are within your control, what can you influence vs. the ones you can't, you not only will be happier, but you will put yourself over the people who fight the unwinnable battle.

*It's funny Cesar one of my best friends (tall muscle guy) told me he envy me being short because I'm more approachable to people. (I think yeah, he could be a little bit intimidating sometimes.

Daniel Yubi

Daniel Yubi

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