Setbacks and responses

I had a setback on a project recently.

I was hoping for an outcome. It didn’t pan out.

I remember the moment I realized it was not going to pan out. I spent a minute thinking about the work that lay ahead. I then muttered “you never know if a good day is a good day” to myself and went right back to work.

There was no disappointment or sadness. The moment was memorable for the absence of any negativity.

Over the years, I’ve shared moments along these lines. Where there was extreme disappoint a decade ago, there’s more equanimity. Some of that is thanks to perspective from years of writing here. Some of it is thanks to being in a more privileged place. And, some of it is thanks to the recent exploration of stoic philosophy.

Until I read the works of the stoics, I assumed that removing negative reactions would mean removing the positive as well. But, the stoics opened my eyes to another possibility – removing the negative stuff while keeping the joy.

Moments like this make me believe that it is possible.

That belief will make change and, thus, learning possible.