Daily Touch of Inspirations
February 21st: Wish not, Want not
Ryan Holiday, The 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
Surely, Epictetus isn't saying that peace, leisure, travel and learning are bad, is he? Thankfully, no. But ceaseless, ardent desire- not bad in and of itself- is fraught with potential complications. What we desire makes us vulnerable. Whether it's an opportunity to travel the world or to be the president or for five minutes of peace and quiet, when we pine for something, when we hope against hope, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Because fate can always intervene and then we'll likely lose our self-control in response.
As Diogenes, the famous Cynic, once said, "It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little." To want nothing makes one invincible- because nothing lies outside your control. This doesn't just go for not wanting the easy- to- criticize things like wealth or fame- the kinds of folly that we see illustrated in some of our most classic plays and fables. That green light that Gatsby strove for can represent seemingly good things too, like love or a noble cause. But it can wreck someone all the same.
When it comes to your goals and the things you strive for, ask yourself: Am I in control of them or they in control of me?