Finance Stoic 16 – What harm, but that which I perceive?

Keep in mind that it isn’t the one who has it in for you and takes a swipe that harms you, but rather the harm comes from your own belief about the abuse. So when someone arouses your anger, know that it’s really your own opinion fueling it. Instead, make it your first response not to be carried away by such impressions, for with time and distance self-mastery is more easily achieved.

Epictetus, Enchiridion, 20

Today’s question is why am I telling myself that I’ve been harmed? 

I spent a lot of time with my oldest son today. It was nice.

We talked basketball, money, financial independence and early retirement.

I read today’s question and it was an eye-opener. So true. So challenging.

It made me think about how I can, at times, react quite negatively to situations.

For example, there was how down I felt when I learned that I had lost the opportunity I wanted.

Then, there was how angry I felt when managers on our leadership team were speaking so negatively in yesterday’s meeting about my team. I took it so personally, but it was not personal.

The key in both of the prior to sentences is the I felt portion of each sentence. In neither case had something been done to me; instead, I had a perception that something had been done to me and I reacted accordingly.

This reminds me of something I learned from my executive coach, which is that it is the time between a stimulus and a response where the difference(s) can be made for a senior executive. The ability to receive a stimulus, pause and consider the implications of the stimulus and then to choose the appropriate response.

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