“Under control are opinions, aspirations, desires, and things repel us. Out of control, however, are things like the kind of body we have, being born into wealth or not, the way others see us, and our position in society.”—Epictetus.
Now that we know how to overcome laziness (rule 5), we must learn how to channel our will and energy.
We will do this by mixing ancient knowledge and modern knowledge.
- Ancient knowledge: we will listen to the Stoics, focus on those things that are in our power, and not waste energy being overwhelmed by everything that is not within our influence.
When something overwhelms you, ask yourself: Can I do something to change it? And if the answer is no, go back to your own, invest your energy in something you can change.
- Modern knowledge: within the things we can change, we often get obsessed with things that are not worth improving, as Elon Musk says, “Possibly the most common mistake of a smart engineer is to optimize something that shouldn’t exist.”
When something takes up too much of your resources or energy, ask yourself, Is optimizing this essential to achieving my goals? And if the answer is No, stop devoting resources and time to something that only slows you down.
As you can see, both rules aim to save essential resources such as time and energy; the sound management of these valuable resources is the difference between achieving your dreams or staying halfway.
Everyone has the same hours a day to fulfill their dreams: 24 hours. Therefore it is how you use those 24 hours that counts. Don’t forget.
Daily rule: to be effective, 1) focus on the things you can change and don’t obsess about what is out of your hands, and 2) stop wasting time and resources on optimizing expendable things.