Part two of our running series on career advice from classical Greece deals with our attitudes:
Without the correct attitude about your job, it really won’t matter how hard you work. Sure, you may have some success, but it will not be truly satisfying, or lasting. If you approach each day- each project- with the right attitude, the rest can fall into place so much easier.
“There is only one-way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
How many times have you stayed awake at night replaying the day’s events or looking forward to some anticipated occurrence? More often than not, there is nothing we can do about these things. This is what Epictetus is talking about. There are events we have control over and events that we don’t. Wisdom comes in knowing the difference.
By zeroing in on those things that are under “the power of our will,” we can accomplish a lot more. No needless energy is wasted running around in circles nipping at the heels of projects or situations where someone else is the main driver. Speaking of other people, we also need to pay attention to how other’s attitudes affect us.
"Other people's views and troubles can be contagious. Don't sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others."
Here is my modern version of this quote: Beware the break room.
It is so easy to join in with co-workers in the inevitable bitch-session that often takes place in the break room. And while everyone needs to vent once in a while, a steady diet of this attitude will eventually poison your own work ethic. This attitude can lead to you not taking responsibility for your (occasional of course) faults and instead blaming it on someone else. The pass-the-buck syndrome was born in a break room bull session.
Don't be anti-social, just be sure that those who you spend the most time with share your general outlook. Don’t sabotage yourself.