Your parents die; Alexander Hamilton. You go to prison; Nelson Mandela. The company you founded fires you; Steve Jobs. The internet demonizes you and sends you death threats; Barack Obama.
You’re forgotten; Nicolas Steno.
These things happen every day. Every day they crush people.
But once in awhile they don’t. Occasionally they happen to someone, and that someone says, “No”.
They refuse to lie down. They do not accept the perspective the world tries to force on them. They choose to interpret the events radically different from everyone else.
It’s this choice, this single choice they make, that determines how they see the event.
Because of this perspective, all of their actions and thought patterns run on a completely separate highway from everyone else’s.
This fundamentally changes how they view reality.
When you fundamentally change reality, that’s when things start to really get interesting.
This goes to the heart of Stoicism.
Perspective enables the entire philosophy, from perseverance and focus to literal self-mastery.
When you control your perspective, you control your reality. When you control your reality, you control your emotions.
You choose what is good, what is bad, and what makes you angry.
If you decide that an event was put there to challenge you, to let you show the world your grit, then you become determined and retain your power and control of yourself.
If you decide that an event was put there because you’re an unlucky victim, then you become a victim, and give up your power and lose control of yourself.
The situation controls you.
Don’t let the world choose your perspective. Take control of how you see reality, and use it to empower you.
Maintaining self-control is the greatest, and only, guaranteed guard we have against weakness and hardship.
From Nelson Mandela to Alexander Hamilton to Steve Jobs and beyond, they all chose to redefine their perspective. They chose to take control of the situation and their response. That changed the game that was being played and remade it to their advantage.
If you change your perspective to fuel your emotions, everything from happiness to grit, you’ll redefine the game that you’re playing.
This is how you conquer your emotions.
This is how you use your brain’s short-term reactionary ‘System 1’ brain to your advantage.
This is how you choose victory.