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The Illusion of Control

“The more we value things outside our control, the more suffering we will experience in our life.”

~ Vincenzo Aliberti


A friend of mine had been avoiding doing his business taxes for a couple of years. One day, she realized that she could not wait any more, and had to get them done. She was very concerned about how much she had to pay back to the government. When everything is said and done, she had to pay close to $50,000 in taxes to the government. Once she found out how much she had to pay, an incredible rage ran through her. She blamed everyone and everything, and simply could not get over it for the next year.


One of the great tenets of the Stoic philosophy is that there are things that are in your control, and then there are things that are out of your control – the dichotomy of control. Only focus on those things that are within your control. The things that you have control over our judgments, decisions, and actions, and everything else we cannot control.


The fact of the matter is that my friend started reflecting on how she should have paid her taxes and whining and complaining for a long time. It wasn’t until she realized that it was how she responded to the news of having to pay close to $50,000, which was in her control, given that she had the money, that she became sane again. Remember, focus on things that you can control, there rest is just noise in your world, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.


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