What’s in My Control? (Epictetus’ Enchiridion—Chapter 1 Simplified)

Poetry 1 min read
Photographer: Zulmaury Saavedra | Source: Unsplash

From life
I’ve learned—
to keep most of
the day-to-day dealings
outside of my concern

Simply turn

when I easily see—
those are simple things
that lie outside the control of me.

Those are life’s distractions,
which have no value, for my soul
to hold or keep

Not worth my focus,
nor attention
or actions to seek.

And as a practicing Stoic
I strive be, wise in heart
to know the difference,
self-attuned and humble enough
to accept with deference.

To know,
ready at hand,
of all the choices, regardless
of what I’ve been told,
it is only three I
really ever hold—

that of
- Attention
- Perception
- Action

the only things
within my control.

“Of things some are in our power, and others are not… examine it by the rules which you possess, and by this first and chiefly, whether it relates to the things which are in our power or to the things which are not in our power: and if it relates to anything which is not in our power, be ready to say, that it does not concern you.”

~ Epictetus from The Enchiridion

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