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Day 213: On Sudden Trials

 

Sudden Trials

“The art of life is more like the wrestler’s art than the dancer’s, in respect of this, that it should stand ready and firm to meet onsets which are sudden and unexpected.”
– Marcus Aurelius

Preparing yourself for possible temptations and avoiding situations in which you’re likely to encounter them is a solid strategy, but it won’t eliminate one of the most formidable enemies: sudden and unexpected trials.

During my krav maga workouts (an Israeli self-defense system), my coach often reminds me that during an attack in the street, I’ll be unlikely to be prepared for it. I may be carrying shopping bags, coming home after a tiring workout, feeling sick, or have my mind so occupied that I won’t notice the threat until it’s too late. Consequently, during our workouts, we sometimes imitate such situations so that I can be better prepared during an unexpected attack.

Self-discipline is similar to self-defense in this regard. It’s one thing to remain self-disciplined when you’re mentally prepared or perform a self-defense technique during training, and a completely different thing to face temptations or an enemy when they’re most likely to emerge — when you’re tired, angry, sick, heartbroken, or depressed.

As hard as it is, try to pay even more attention to your self-control when you aren’t at your best. It’s during those testing times that you can learn the most about your weaknesses, as well as your hidden strengths.

To better prepare yourself to handle such negative, unpredictable circumstances, periodically test your character while you’re under the weather. For example, while writing these words, I’m pushing myself to complete two days’ worth of work even though I’ve been having low spirits the past few days. Even though it’s hard, I know that it will serve me well the next time I’ll have to deal with a different sudden, unexpected trial.

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Article based on works of
© Martin Meadows
Next Day 214: On Fearing The Future
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