Cultivate Indifference

September 12, 2020

Of all the things that are, some are good, others bad, and yet others indifferent. The good are virtues and all that share in them; the bad are the vices and all that indulge them; the indifferent lie in between virtue and vice and include wealth, health, life, death, pleasure and pain.

Epictetus, Discourses, 2.19.12b-13

How can I cultivate indifference to unimportant things?

I can cultivate indifference by training my mind through meditation, heart rate variability training and journaling.

By listening, while not engaging, with my thoughts and recognizing when they go offline, I will learn to not get overly excited, angry or upset.

I can control my thoughts, as necessary; then, how can I be troubled? What is outside my mind means nothing to it. Avoid that lesson and your feet stand firm.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Some time ago, my wife and I met with our home builder.

Without the learning I was doing, some of these meetings would have destroyed me.

Reading Marcus Aurelius and studying other Stoic writings, I realized that this home building process cannot destroy me. Only I CAN destroy me.

Having the permit process take eight months longer than anticipated was not great, but I understood what occurred that caused the permits to be delayed.

I cannot be happy that the cost of many items in our budget climbed higher and higher, nor that the trades were not able to make it at their scheduled times.

I work in this industry, I know there are extenuating circumstances that caused the prices to rise and the trades to be busy. I could only focus on what I could control.

I could have looked at our design plans with my wife and we could have made decisions to cut costs where they were not needed, whether that is lighting, appliances, an asphalt roof versus a metal roof, etc.

I used to think we would build this house, it would be amazing, and that it would ultimately increase our net worth.

Unfortunately, none of that happened; however, over time it could appreciate and make up for the extra costs incurred.

Regardless, it is our forever home and despite the challenges we are facing, we will endure them and live in the home for years to come.

Until then, I will continue to cultivate indifference to situations as they arise.

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