The five rules to live by to master the dichotomy of control.

Ahmadou DIALLO ✪
ILLUMINATION
Published in
6 min readNov 20, 2022

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“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.”

Epictetus. Discourses. II.5

Where is your circle of control?

How wide is your strip of influence?

Why are you resisting the universe?

The more I think about it, the more I feel the struggle. For most of my life, I have been a frustrated man. For most of my life, I have been an angry man. Yet, I have been faking it with a smile for most of my life.

I have felt powerless in the face of everything I cannot control. Be it things that I wanted that slipped between my fingers. Be it things happening to loved ones that I wish would not happen or the opposite.

We all are facing that dichotomy in our world. There are things we can control, and the rest of the universe is outside our reach.

So we might think that there is a clear border between those universes. Yet it is more complex than that. It is like the DMZ between North and South Korea.

“The Korean Demilitarized Zone (Korean: 한반도 비무장 지대 / 韓半島非武裝地帶; Hanbando Bimujang Jidae) is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula near the 38th parallel north. The demilitarized zone(DMZ) is a border barrier that divides the peninsula roughly in half.”

Korean Demilitarized Zone. (2022, September 20). In Wikipedia.

What we control and cannot exist is a kind of DMZ, our zone of influence. Nature loves continuity and is not a big fan of abrupt cuts.

I recently learned about my zone of influence at the edge of my sphere of control.

Hence there is complexity in the dichotomy of control: there is a DMZ. But, for the sake of simplicity, let’s go back to our initial assumption: there are only those two zones.

Most of us struggle to live in our circle of control and accept what happens beyond.

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Ahmadou DIALLO ✪
ILLUMINATION

🏆 Top Medium Writer in Ideas. I am a professional storyteller who can help you share your stories. Find out more here: https://www.madception.com