Every effort and action you make counts. Here’s why…
Our food for thought today begins with two quotes:
First, “everything has two handles, one by which it can be easily carried, the other not at all”. And our next tidbit to chew on is, “Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better.” Read More
Much of our suffering in life can be directly attributed to poor thinking. Poor thinking such as catastrophizing some small event assuming it means the worst will happen, assuming the motives or mood of another, or reacting before we stop, pause, and think.
Our goal in life is not to simply stuff our heads full of knowledge but to let that wisdom actually work its way out in our real life. In other words, as Epictetus said, we’re not just reading books but we’re showing ourselves that we’ve learned a better way to approach life. Even the Bible addresses this topic saying, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” In other words, lots of head knowledge that never makes it to one’s heart.
Our principles or philosophy only mean something when they change the way we think and consequently, how we live our daily lives. Here’s one example. Offenses- when you feel wronged or hurt by another. It could be a family member, friend, or colleague. Epictetus was recorded as saying, “Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be borne, the other by which it may not. If your brother acts unjustly, do not lay hold of the act by that handle wherein he acts unjustly, for this is the handle which cannot be borne. Lay hold of the other, that he is your brother, that he was nurtured with you, and you will lay hold of the thing by that handle by which it can be borne.” Simply put when offended we have two choices, grasp and hold onto the offense that wounded us and risk losing hold of the relationship, or instead of choosing to hold onto the fact that person is someone you love or care deeply about and no offense is worth losing that relationship.
Too many family members don’t speak for years, couples get divorced, or business partners part ways having chosen to hold onto the offense by which they in turn lose grip of the relationship.
So the next time someone upsets you, take a moment or even take a walk. Perhaps during that walk, some of what you’ve read or heard will come to mind and lead you to consider which handle you will grab. In doing so you may have learned to think better.