One of the things I decided to do with the new year was to work my way through The Daily Stoic, a daybook of Stoic concepts and practices. The headline for January 15 is “Peace is in staying the course”:
In Seneca’s essay on tranquility, he uses the Greek word euthymia, which he defines as “believing in yourself and trusting that you are on the right path, and not being in doubt by following the myriad footpaths of those wandering in every direction.” It is this state of mind, he says, that produces tranquility.
Which seems lovely and philosophical, but a little dense. A follow-up sentence hammered the meaning home:
Rather, it’s that we can rest assured we’re heading generally in the right direction—that we don’t need to constantly compare ourselves with other people or change our mind every three seconds based on new information*.
It’s that last part that is my Achilles’ heel. I stumble across a website or a blog or see a comment that leads me down a rabbit hole, and the next thing I know, I’m questioning my writing plan. The same plan that I spent so long working on and thinking through after researching it to the nth degree.
So of course even after reading that entry, I stumbled the next day and did just that. Down the rabbit hole, doubting myself and chasing after shiny butterflies. Until I hit a stopping point and realized how much time I had spent wandering, and not focused on my Work. Then I got back to Work and had a great writing run (two hours and 2700 words!)**.
Note to self: Stay the course. Have faith in yourself and Do the Work***.
What is your Work? What helps you stay the course?
*Bold text emphasis is mine.
**This was after struggling to get my Butt in Chair and facing the fear of writing. My solution seems to be “write for 15 minutes”. You would think I’d have this licked by now, but no. It’s the eternal battle.
***I think this needs to be my new mantra.