Your thoughts please: Is there anything completely within your own power?

Anything fully up to you. Dependent only on you. Entirely within your own control?

A little context: When walking the Stoic path (one form of philosophy as an art of living), people often seek to distinguish what’s within their own power and what isn’t.

This sets the stage for acceptance of what is not, and taking responsibility for what is.

But right now I want to get YOUR thoughts on THIS question:

Is there, or are there, anything fully within a person’s own power? What are these?

If there isn’t anything, what would come closest? And what makes it only partly within your power?


MV

(Philosophic Advisor Cleveland’s website and blog can be found here.)

43 thoughts on “Your thoughts please: Is there anything completely within your own power?

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      1. One cannot possibly be cognizant of all of one’s behaviour except what they have consciously chosen. Yet, with the right line of questioning, it is possible to deduce the triggering decisive markers that led one to their current level of noetic awareness. Once has reached a particular level of autonomy, it comes down to their individual consciousness to take the responsibility of the (r/evolutionary) development of their consciences.
        Essentially… everyone is responsible for everything that has happened to you, you are responsible for everything that comes from you. You notice what you notice, and you do what you do. There are consequences for every action/inaction, ignorance may offer explanation but it is no excuse.

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      2. Yes. You can be naive or aware, a victim or instigator, it doesnt really matter because life will continue on with or without you. These are all just metaphors to give voice to the feelings or stirrings within. For how else do we explain our perspective of what is real in our reality, but yet to others is a fantasy because its not how they see it to be?
        The frustration of trying to describe the quantity and quality of this otherwise questionable “qua”….
        ie. “try to feel what i see,” “do you see what i mean,” or “do you know what i feel?” A synesthesia of rhetoric is my only knowledge of how to possibly express it… 🤷‍♀️🤖

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  1. I often have very little control over things that happen to me, but I do have the ability (if I exercise it) of controlling how I respond to such events. I believe that idea is fairly firmly rooted in Stoicism, and I do think of myself as a Stoic.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Everything about life is tricky, including trying to impose a little self-discipline. I don’t always succeed in shaping my responses to life’s situations. So, yes, this is sometimes a challenge.

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  2. Following the law (traffic, institutional, property, government etc) is something that’s within my control
    Spurts of behaviours – new eating trend, fashion, personal empowerment etc – anything dependent on a dopamine spurt …. yes
    Patterns of behaviour is SO difficult to change. SO SO SO difficult and no amount of stiff upper lipping and stoicism will take us the distance … in fact, after a point, it becomes self-abusive
    Reprogramming the subconscious is a huge tool that can help for pattern changing and bringing more “control” into our life 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that comment! I agree, ingrained patterns of behavior are often not things one can simply choose to control. And it can absolutely become a problem to just insist that it’s a matter simply of willing it in the moment. (To everyone reading this who is a fan of willpower, please note the word ‘simply’!)

      What ways of reprogramming the subconscious have you found to be useful?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. (NOTE: one cannot reprogram on top of an existing program. One has to return to factory setting first. That would include grieving griefs, facing fears, feeling pains, inner child work, inner parenting as a Habit, change in self talk, removal of toxic people and situations and environments and then ….. identifying real desires and real goals)

        Still searching and studying, so maybe we all have to do our own research in this direction. A few authors’ books have helped, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Dr. Joe Dispenza and Teal Swan.
        Apparently the BEST two ways of reprogramming are
        1. Hypnosis (can be done by ourselves when we enter deep meditative states after stating our intentions clearly to ourselves before sitting down) or with a Hypnotherapist
        2. Habits (will require self-discipline and will-power to maintain a routine that’s better than survival and leading towards our goals)

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  3. I enjoy Stoicism. I’ve been reading it semi-regularly for a few years now, though I’m definitely not an expert. The philosophy of “things in your control” has been quite helpful for me in terms of dealing with my anxiety.

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      1. I have Meditations and works by Seneca but I’m also currently rereading “Stoicism Today: Selected Writings” by Patrick Usher. I like it; short pieces on different bits of the philosopy.

        Do you have any you like or recommend?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aurelius’ Meditations, and Seneca. Classics. I haven’t read that collection by Usher yet (although I know of it), so I’m making a note of your positive appraisal.

        A lot of my favorites are very scholarly, or are less accessible primary sources… One of the scholarly books is about the Meditations, it’s by Pierre Hadot and it’s called “The Inner Citadel.” It’s eloquent, and I think it can really help in understanding Meditations, but it is still a very academic work.

        As far as more directly practical and accessible writings go, there is a short book by Elen Buzaré called “Stoic Spiritual Exercises.” Although it’s self-published, it is legitimate. There are also two books on meditation by a teacher named Martine Batchelor, “Meditation for Life” and “Let Go.” These draw on the Buddhist traditions, but I’ve found them a powerful complement to Stoicism. Or maybe I should say, they can increase one’s ability to effectively practice Stoicism.

        I hope to create a good list of Stoic resources, on my own site, once I can carve out a bit of time to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes for as long as I can remember. I wouldn’t say it is easy always. Anger, frustation, destructive thoughts are quite overpowering at times but eventually stoicism keep me grounded, give me a perspective. As I said earlier, circumstances are never in our control, how we react to them is. Instead of trying to control what’s not in my control, I rather put my energy into positive. That’s how the circumstance lose control on me and i find control on myself. It’s easy said than done. It’s a difficult path, need patience and patience is tested a lot on this path.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I see, so actively taking a Stoic perspective helps at first with getting through the most emotionally intense moments, and then helps with finding a sense of positive agency within life’s circumstances.

        It’s interesting what you say about the difficulty of the path and patience. That reminds me of a couple lines somewhere in the Dhammapada which basically say: to live, walking a philosophic path, is difficult; but to live, not walking a philosophic path, is also difficult.

        Thanks!

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  4. I see, so actively taking a Stoic perspective helps at first with getting through the most emotionally intense moments, and then helps with finding a sense of positive agency within life’s circumstances.

    It’s interesting what you say about the difficulty of the path and patience. That reminds me of a couple lines somewhere in the Dhammapada which basically say: to live, walking a philosophic path, is difficult; but to live, not walking a philosophic path, is also difficult.

    Thanks!

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    1. A lot of commenters have said that, or something like it. Maybe that’s just because I framed this as Stoic (and tagged the post “Stoic”). Or maybe it’s something more universal that the Stoics captured. Is your response Stoic-influenced, Betul? Or just something you’re found to be true in your life? (Or learned from other sources?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it is something I found to be true with experience. Whenever I try to control events, I can’t. They become worse. I can only control them, if at all, with my reactions. For example, say a friend of mine sad bad things to me today and I got angry. If I react negatively, for example shout back at her, this makes her even angrier and the situation gets worse. If I control myself, then perhaps she will calm down and apologize. A simple example, but it makes my point.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. If there was one thing I could say that is within my control this very moment, it would be my perception. On the ride home late last night, we had a flat tire on the side of the highway. I could have become angry and spewed negativity, but that would not have helped the situation or made my wife and kids feel better. Instead, I was glad that we had a spare, a jack that worked, and I was able-bodied enough to get it changed quickly. Anger is weakness, particularly when it is aimed at inanimate objects and events that are outside of our control.

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  6. Our thoughts are the only thing we have complete control over. Any actions or behaviors have a reaction outside of our control. Those outside reactions may cause us to have to act outside of our “control”.

    Our thoughts are not changed unless an argument more powerful than our own invites us to change them. Whether they changed or not was of our own volition.

    – Kelsk 🍻

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