Zeno and the Path to Flexibility

It was a serene morning as I sat in the Muskoka chair, feet resting at the pool’s edge and my tea nestled between my laptop, notebook and pen on the wide-edged arm rest. A slight breeze was rustling the leaves above me and our chocolate Labrador retriever was snoring quaintly beside me. This was a decompression day. The week before was one of chaotic stress. I realized I needed a change and this day was the time I was taking to regain my perspective and to chart a new course.

I didn’t want to run away from my situation; rather, I wanted to run to something. As I sipped the hot tea I began to remember my favorite philosophers, hopefully, I thought, their infinite wisdom could guide me today.

Then it happened. Finally, I had a reference point. It was Zeno of Citium. He came from Cyprus to begin a school in 300 B.C. which became the philosophical preference of many Greeks and non-Greeks alike. Better known as stoics, they stressed the interdependence of physical, ethical, and logical divisions in life. Destructive behavior emanated from errors of judgment or perceptions and that if one lived with “moral and intellectual perfection” he wouldn’t suffer such distorted and damaging perceptions. The stoics believed that these principles were a way of life and that fulfillment comes from not what a person says, rather how he behaves.

So, here it was. It was my behavior that I needed to change in order to change the direction my life had taken. These were comforting thoughts, as I my behavior was seemingly the only thing I could control these days, despite the challenges I may have been facing.

The stoics believed that the development of self-control and fortitude to manage one’s perceptions is the means to eliminate distorted thoughts. And I held many distorted thoughts, but a least I had recognized my failings and took the day to rebalance my thinking.

Training our minds to become logical allows us to understand the universal reason behind our perceptions. Embracing this philosophy provides a calming influence within a busy world. It allows us to see the world and perceive it in an empowered way. It opens the door to the awareness of ourselves and to understand what we can and cannot control.

So, what I needed to do was to be honest and truthful to myself about my situation and what I needed to do to realize my real goals.

Zeno helped me to remember that the only thing we have power over is ourselves and how we choose to react to the influences around us. If we choose to take an introspective look at our perception, we can decide to remain cheerful and tranquil despite the situation we find ourselves in. It’s inherently a wise art of living and one that gives us the power to understand and manage our perceptions.

So what did Zeno teach me? He taught me to question myself, not judge myself. He taught me that I, alone, control how I wish to react to all that is around me. He taught me that finding peace within myself will free me from irrational fears. And, finally, Zeno taught me to live with challenges and take advantage of them, not to be overwhelmed by them.

As I drank the last drop of tea, I finished writing an email addressed to my network of colleagues and friends asking them if they knew of any opportunities in my area of interest. And for the first time in long time, I could feel a warm smile form on my face.

At last I was at peace.

Have you listened to Zeno lately?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.

Other Time Trading Gurus


emily nolin presents Giving Up The To Do List posted at emilynolin.


Amelia Thio presents How To Manage Your Full Time Work With A Part Time Business Without Losing Your Personal Life posted at Amelia Thio.

Chris Dame presents Minimalism is scary! 6 minimalist fears and how to cope with them posted at Carry Everything On, saying, “Minimalism is key to keeping focused on the right goals in life, but it’s scary to actually do. Here’s how to cope.”

Jon Rhodes presents Surround Yourself With Positive People posted at Affiliate Help!, saying, “This article shows you why it is important to have positive thinking people in your life if you want success.”


John Schmoll presents Taking the Plunge: Is the Grass Always Greener? posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “When you run your own business, part of you never knows what is around the corner. You have to be able to look at opportunities that arise as they can often help you grow professionally as well as grow your business.”

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