Last Friday, as I was about to get on the ramp for the freeway, my car’s electrical systems gave out.
I reached for the emergency lights after my car had begun sputtering, and the lights would not turn on. Instinctively, I decided not to get on the freeway, sputtered a quick U-turn, and pulled into a nearby In-n-Out parking lot.
Needless to say, I spent the next couple of hours figuring out how to get it towed back to my apartment.
Unforeseen incidents happen all the time. Whether something breaks, an accident happens, or some other kind of surprise, things happen.
Last month, I read Robert M Pirsig’s book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It was a deep introduction into stoic philosophy through a story of a cross country motorcycle trip a father takes with his son.
According to Ryan Holiday, stoic philosophy is centered around the idea that “You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can always control how you respond”.
“Our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.” – Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
It may be hard to remain positive when unforeseen events are happening and emotions are triggered, but the people who are able to respond rationally will always come out on top of whatever situation they are put in.
The obstacle is the way.