“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself the choices that are my own…”
-Epictetus, Discourses, 2.5.4-5
Let’s be clear and face the hard truths. A recession is not holding you back from getting a job and a flight cancellation is not going to ruin your life. Many of us have a habit of tricking our minds into looking at these uncontrollable events as negative forces holding us back.
Think about what actually happens during a recession generally speaking. The economy takes a hit and trends downward causing industry to slow and the laying off of workers to occur. This downward trend in the economy creates a deficit. An opportunity deficit if you choose to look at it that way. It is at this point you face a decision to make. You can stay stagnate and have the negative assumption in your head you can’t get a job or still make strides in your career. Or you can say, history has proved statistically the economy will bounce back so I am going to take advantage of this deficit in the economy and help get us back to where we were. It is at these moments where the world is scattered in opportunity. Not that the world isn’t always abundant with opportunity.
It is this simple mindset and perspective change that allows you see the world through a different lens. A lens that is optimistic, creative, and ambitious enough to find these grand opportunities. Constantly ensuring you walk around with this mindset is key to being able to see opportunities, even in the most unexpected places. But if you were to walk around with a negative mindset about the scope of the economy and tell yourself a fabricated story on how it is holding you back, you’ll never see the opportunities even if they were right in front of you. Why limit yourself off of what you can’t control?
You have to look at what you can control. You can control how you choose to see the world, your mindset, and your own actions. Make it real clear to yourself that you are 100% accountable for your progress in life. Not the economy or any external factor in which you can’t control.
Because if you’re not accountable for your own progress in life, who will be? Most certainly not an upturn in the economy.