Finance Stoic 1a – Circles of control

We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control what our reaction is to what happens to us.

This week, in my daily stoic journaling process, the words of Epictetus rang to me like the circles of influence of Stephen Covey, or the Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Epictetus delineated between things that are up to us (in our control), and the things that are not up to us (outside our control).

This made me ponder.

At work, I did not receive a desired opportunity to join our ownership group.

I was upset. Angry. Depressed.

I was told I was capable, but the timing was not right.

I had worked my ass off for four straight years, and felt I had failed.

In my anger, it looked, to me, as if a door had closed.

In reality, four doors opened immediately:

  1. I could stay and do what I was doing.
  2. I could leave for a potential opportunity that came to me within two days.
  3. I could join a friend in a startup opportunity we’d been discussing.
  4. I could do either #1 or #2, while focusing on achieving the financial independence that would allow me to do whatever I want by 45.

The Stoic journey, like the book Feeling Good: A New Mood Therapy, allowed me to focus on the right things.

Financial Independence thoughts

Like life, with our financial independence, focus on what you can control, not what you cannot control.

For example:

  1. You cannot control the market, so don’t attempt to time the market, as any number of articles, pundits, websites will tell you.
  2. You cannot always control your future salary, nor your bonuses.
  3. You cannot control your return on investments.
  4. You can control your investments.
  5. You can control your spending.
  6. You can control your debt.

Until next time,

Main Street me

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