Every person, sooner or later, goes through a moment when it seems that he or she is on the wrong road, that his entire way of life is wrong. Have you ever experienced this feeling…? Think about it. Do you find yourself stuck in an incongruous career or in an incompatible relationship or in a redundant place…?

And sadly there is nothing you can do about it, owing to compulsions and constraints beyond your control.

You cannot turn around and retrace your steps or change your road of life.

It seems you have crossed the point of no return and you have no choice but to keep on travelling on the “wrong” road of life.

Failure follows failure … and with repeated failure comes the fear of failure.

It is indeed a terrible vicious cycle which gradually overwhelms you with the chill of despondency.

What can you do in such a situation…?

Maybe the answer lies in a saying I read somewhere a few years ago and noted in my diary:

“ Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir

Which roughly translated means…

You must know how to flower where God has sown you” or “wherever God plants you; there you must learn how to bloom”.

How does one learn to flower where God has sown you, bloom wherever God plants you…?

One may turn to the Enchiridion of Epictetus for guidance.

Epictetus (A.D.55 – A.D. 135), the great Stoic Philosopher, states that happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle:

“Some things are within our control, and some things are not in our control.”

This is the basic stoic truth of subjective consciousness and it is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what is in your power from what is not in your power, and know what you can control and what you cannot control, that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.

On analytical reflection we find that the mind alone can be brought under our control. Everything else, the world of events and people’s behaviour, is beyond the scope of our control.

What disturb you are not events but your attitude towards them.

Don’t demand or except that events happened as you would wish them to. Accept events as they actually happen. And you will be at peace with yourself.

Except for extreme physical abuse, other people cannot hurt you unless you allow them to.

Don’t consent to be hurt and you won’t be hurt.

You must learn to approach life as a banquet and not as a buffet.

Think of your life as if it were a banquet where you would behave graciously: When a dish is passed to you, extend your hand and help yourself to a moderate portion.

If a dish should pass you by, enjoy what is already on your plate. Or if a dish hasn’t been passed to you yet, patiently wait for your turn.

Carry on the same attitude of polite restrain and gratitude to your children, spouse, colleagues, friends, career and money.

There is no need to yearn, envy and grab. You will get your rightful share when it is your time.

It then becomes our paramount duty to control the mind and practice total unconcern to externals.

“When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it … you can either accept it or resent it.”

To accept an event is to rise above it, to resent it to be overpowered by it. With acceptance comes happiness, with resentment comes misery.

source: Vikram Karve’s blog

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