I have been reading “The Daily Stoic” everyday since January 1st. It has been enjoyable and helpful to have a small daily reminder of stoic philosophy, and it has kick started my reading habit. Win-win! However, after sixty-some days of reading, this is the first quote worth sharing:
“Instinctively, we protect our physical selves. We don’t let people touch us, push us around, control where we go. But when it comes to the mind, we’re less disciplined. We hand it over willingly to social media, to television, to what other people are doing, thinking, or saying”Excerpt From: Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman. “The Daily Stoic.”
Every spring (a.k.a. right now), as the lead teacher of my school’s STEM program, I have to process the student applications. Due to the high interest in my program, I end up having to deny more students than I accept. As a result, many denied applicants, and their parents get quite upset and send angry emails. The stress and accusations related to being the person who’s name is attached to these decisions is not fun and weighs on me long after I read the email. This is not the reason I became a teacher, but as a leader in my building, it is my burden to bear.
To me, this quote provides a compelling juxtaposition between how allowing my mind to be affected by someone’s angry email is as helpless as allowing someone to walk up and bully or physically attack me. Allowing someone else’s anger to stick to my brain and detract from my time with my family or my students is now as abhorrent and unlikely as allowing someone to assault me.
With this new perspective, I will be better about protecting my mind and attention.