“The greatest problem we have as humans is that gray area between what we can control and what we can’t. For instance, this morning I can try my best to write a good article. I can research, read, prepare, rewrite, start over, rewrite again, etc. I’m doing my best.
But some days I simply won’t write well. And sometimes I’ll write something that people hate. Either because it doesn’t suit their style or they disagree with me or they dislike me for some other reason.
I choose “writing” for this example because it’s something I deeply care about. I love to write for others. I love it when people like my writing. It makes me feel better.
Which is the gray area. Because even though part of my reaction to my own writing is based on the responses of others, I have “almost” no control over it. I can do what I can do: hard work, preparation, etc. But still, where my control ends, the entire rest of the world begins.
I have to remind myself constantly, I am just a drop of water in the ocean. And ultimately that drop of water dissolves and is absorbed by this giant ocean of life around us. And that’s it. That’s the summation of my life.
It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t enjoy being this drop. What a pleasure it is to participate in life. But I’m just participating it. I’m not the ocean. And I have no influence over the waves that spin me around, or the sun that heats me, or the land all around that I could spill into.”
— That’s James Altucher telling us about the philosophy he lives by, something he’s dubbed, “Stoic soup.”