2016 has been a weird year for many with the passing of several popular figures, Brexit and now Trump's election victory. Each of these events seems to have resulted in a Chicken Licken reaction from many with thousands of people taking to social media to proclaim that the sky is falling down. I have witnessed the anger, frustration and anxiety from many as each of these events have unfolded and wondered whether there was a better way. Certainly those pursuing self improvement and success can't afford to be plunged into emotional turmoil every time a political or world event goes against their wishes. This is where I turn to Stoic Philosophy as my personal operating system. Whilst developed by the ancients it's teachings and guidance are as applicable now as ever before.
A large part of Stoic philosophy centres around the concept of 'Amor Fati', that is 'the love of fate'. If we can begin to love everything that happens, without attributing events as either good or bad, then we will live a life freed from the worries of factors external to us. To illustrate this point see the following quotes from Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, who were at the heart of Stoic teaching:
"Don't seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will. Then your life will flow well."
"When you are distressed by an external thing, it's not the thing itself that troubles you, but only your judgement of it. And you can wipe this out at a moments notice."
You see, our power in life is in our perception. The sky is only falling down if we believe it to be so.
The reality of the recent political situations is that, for the vast majority of us, our lives will be largely unaffected. High level political change has an almost insignificant impact on the average person. Now we can choose to proclaim that the sky is falling down because we don't agree with it or we can change our perception, see the situation for what it is and continue on in our good work.
The final twist in the tale is that, if Chicken Licken had done as we have discussed he would have actually gained an acorn along with avoiding his traumatic experience and this points to another key Stoic teaching - where there is disruption there is opportunity. If we can alter our perception we will often discover that the event that we so feared presents a chance to take a step forward.
So next time you are confronted with a situation you didn't want think of Chicken Licken and make your choice.