“We cry to God Almighty, how can we escape this agony? Fool, don’t you have hands? Or could it be God forgot to give you a pair? Sit and pray your nose doesn’t run! Or, rather just wipe your nose and stop seeking a scapegoat.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 2.16.13
The world is unfair. The game is rigged. So-and-so has it out for you. Maybe these theories are true, but practically speaking—for the right here and now—what good are they to you? That government report or that sympathetic news article isn’t going to pay the bills or rehab your broken leg or find that bridge loan you need. Succumbing to the self-pity and “woe is me” narrative accomplishes nothing—nothing except sapping you of the energy and motivation you need to do something about your problem.
We have a choice: Do we focus on the ways we have been wronged, or do we use what we’ve been given and get to work? Will we wait for someone to save us, or will we listen to Marcus Aurelius’s empowering call to “get active in your own rescue—if you care for yourself at all—and do it while you can.” That’s better than just blowing your own nose (which is a step forward in itself).”
Excerpt From: Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman. “The Daily Stoic.”