“It’s unfortunate that this happened. No. It’s fortunate that this has happened and I’ve remained unharmed.” – Marcus Aurelius
Think of the last time when you failed at something—major or minor. A business deal fell through. A grade didn’t come back the way you had hoped. How much pain did it cause in the moment? But more important, now that years have passed, how much pain does it cause now?
Very little, right?
It’s important to remind ourselves how much of our pain is self-inflicted. How important and real it may feel in the moment, but how quickly it will fade and become irrelevant. Are you really as harmed as you think here? Or maybe better, remember: I am exactly as harmed here as I think.
This is why our perceptions matter so much. If we can realize that this ain’t so bad, it won’t be. We’re going to move on and forget about it in the future, so why not start that now?
We need to remember, as Marcus did, that the permanent thing is impermanence. Money, power, fame, influence—these are ephemeral. As is our very existences on this planet. That there’s real wisdom to be found in the notion that you’re a speck in the universe’s broad history, and that your time is limited. Accept that it is, and you’ll open yourself up to a clarity—and possibly even a contentment—that you didn’t know.
“We’re here to laugh at the odds,” Bukowski said, “and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”