Last Tuesday, I took advantage of the great weather and decided to go on a bike ride.
While getting everything ready, I realized that I didn’t have my headlight or tailight, and they were nowhere to be found! My initial reaction was some curse words and a feeling of anger and frustration at my wife, who must have clearly hidden them from me.
Then, something pretty cool happened. I calmed myself, and took the time needed to think and solve the mystery of where my bike lights were. The bike ride was great.
For almost a year, I’ve been reading The Daily Stoic. This gives me a daily dose of a stoic medititation. A few weeks ago it had dawned on me that I had been reading these daily meditations, but really had not found a way to put them into practice.
After reflecting on my behavior and feelings upon blowing up over something trivial, I realized that this was not very stoic. So, I planted a alarm in my mind that would go off the next time I got overly angry at something.
Once I took a deep breath after my frustration with not finding my bike lights, it started to really sink in. Getting angry in this moment, especially projecting that anger on someone who was not at fault, was pointless and counterproductive. Even if she had been at fault, and had deviously hid my lights somewhere or had thrown them away, getting angry in that moment would have been futile and worthless.
In that moment of clarity, I told myself that it is my choice of whether to get angry or not. Although we would love to have control of many other things in life, our mind is truly the only thing we can control.
It is only with a clear mind I was able to solve the mystery of where my bike lights were. It is this kind of calm and clear mind that I desire and strive for.
Featured photo by Luca Campioni on Unsplash.