Life has been throwing me some curveballs of late and I’ve been batting them back with Stoicism. This all started with my Stoic summer where I read ‘Reason not to Worry’ by Bridget Delaney. I started the year trying not to stress about things that I couldn’t control. This one concept has planted the seed for quite a profound change in my life.

Now, when I’m faced with new information I quickly pass it through the Control Test (See BB#163) to assess if I have to take action or not. By adding this tiny extra step into my thinking I’ve created enough space to rein in my reaction. This has been pretty powerful especially when the new information isn’t great.

Take a few weeks ago for example. It was the day before we had our TinyOffice open day. I was mopping the floors in the kitchen when our real estate agent came in. Matt had mentioned 20 minutes earlier that he might be dropping by for a quick inspection. Being life long renters this wasn’t surprising. In fact it was a great day for him to visit because the factory was sparkling.

As Matt was showing him around the factory, I finished mopping the kitchen. Matt then quickly rushed into the kitchen and discreetly whispered - they’re selling the factory and rushed back outside to talk with the real estate agent again. I was speechless. There I was, mop in hand on the eve of our second open day with the news that we will have to move. If you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ll recall that the last time we moved was horrendous and nearly destroyed us, well me!

My immediate reaction was to get really upset - this is fucked! On the eve of our day of prosperity, when we share our vision for the world with others, we’d have this huge fucken thing over us, again. It feels like there is about 2 weeks a year when this isn’t something massive looming. I took a deep breath and asked a simple question - do I have control over this? The answer was ‘NO’ so instantly my perceived responsibility to ‘react’ was vanquished.

I was feeling really good about my stoic response when I walked back out to the factory and the real estate agent was showing some guy who appeared from nowhere around the factory. Not only had we JUST heard that the factory was going to be sold, they were brought through the first potential buyer.

To say I was shocked was an understatement.

It took all of my strength and stoic powers to rein in the rage and objectively look at the situation as something that I simply had no control over. It didn’t matter how offended I felt about this random stranger nonchalantly walking through the factory, planning where his equipment would go as he inadvertently crushed our entrepreneurial dreams.

We obviously had a team meeting once the real estate agent left and decide that while it is incredibly poor timing, we still have 12 months on our lease and I needed to be reminded that we are a far stronger business than we were 2 years ago, which was during the middle pandemic, when it was just Matt and myself juggling a 5 and 3 year old. Being able to objectively take shitty news and realise that you actually have no control over it (unless of course we can magic up $2.5million) makes the news far easier to digest.

Digesting food is another area of my life that has (accidentally) been in alignment with Stoicism over the last three weeks as Matt and myself have been on a low FODMAP diet. If you’ve ever been on a low FODMAP diet before it sucks. You can barely eat anything and you can only have a bloody tablespoon of what you are allowed to eat. I’ve never been so hungry.

Having periods in your life of restriction is a very stoic practice. Whether it's some CEO living out in the bush for a week or having a technology ban during a long weekend, to live without the luxuries in your life is a powerful way to create appreciation for what you do have. I tell you what, the food that I have been able to eat has been amazing! Never have I enjoyed an orange so much!

While I’m still new to stoicism I’m finding more and more application to my life. It has really made me a far more tolerant person and I’m sure Matt would agree that I’m way easier to live with when I spend less of my time fretting. I keep returning this powerful line from Seneca if I ever find things getting to me:

The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today.

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