Reading a book about Stoicism at the end of 2021, I found something that I think is the simplest, most relevant piece of philosophy. More than just a mere thought, it is something that you have to practice. And the first step that you need to do is to understand what to “control”. 

But the first thought that came to my mind was “Life is such a mess. How in the world can I take control of all these things?”

Reading deeper into the book, I found that it is actually not about controlling what’s around you. What it is asking you, is to focus on what you have the power to control – yourself.

Our work at the agency moves so fast and changes a lot and this provides a perfect training ground for me. If we cannot control our emotions, keep focusing on the external changes, and assuming why things happened or not — we will only end up drowning in our own thoughts and get stressed.

What I learned is how to step back, observe, and be patient. These three things are really in contradiction to our day-to-day work, but they are what we actually need to optimize our work.

And this practice is not only applicable to my work life but also to my daily life.

Entering 2022 did not really excite me. It was just another year of uncertainties, only you’ve already sort of adapted to it. So I came up with a simple goal in mid January: a balanced life. 

I started building new routines in life. Wake up early, go to the gym three times a week, go to work, get off work, get some rest or hang out with friends. And this routine actually helped me to stay productive because I control and plan what I want to do next. 

To be able to do this is actually a privilege, as some of my friends of mine continue to complain about having to work overtime and not being able to do what they wanted to do. At this point I realize that I am very lucky to be in a supportive working environment that actually encourages me to practice this routine of mine.

Little did I know, the decision to practice self-control actually helped me to grow better and everything also fell into place. It somehow helped me to see things in a balanced view too, and to nurture an open mind.

When I look back to 2022 today, having wished it to be an exciting year was something that I could not control. But what I could do instead, was to learn to be present for today, to go with the flow, and to understand my own emotions –  these are the things that can help me unlock a lot of achievements, both on and off work.

Here’s to a more surprising year ahead!

Written by Dyah Ayu Arini