If you want to be unsteady
“For if a person shifts their caution to their own reasoned choices and the acts of those choices, the will at the same time gain the will to avoid, but if they shift their caution away from their own reasoned choices to things not under their control, seeking to avoid what is controlled by others, they will then be agitated, fearful, and unstable.”
— Epictetus, Discourses, 2.1.12
Focus on your choices and how they impact the world, you will be able to ward off the stresses and temptations of the world. However, if you focus on the choices given to others you will be left feeling anxious, afraid, and at the whim of others.
Take a second and think about those times in life where you are left feeling anxious and stressed, are they a result of your choices? Or are they a result of choices left to others, of which you have no control, maybe they are a result of fear of judgements as a result of a choice left before you?
This inward look will leave you with peace and security in that you can at any time change the situation. That choice is yours too.
The Daily Stoic
In another layer, adding depth to the essence of what Epictetus was saying. The book states that “Epictetus is reminding you that serenity and stability are results of your choices and judgement, not your environment”. Peace is not found in the mountains, or among the fields of green, but in your mind. If you attempt to avoid the distractions in life brought on by those things outside your control, you will never be successful. Instead you need to find the minds’ peace among those distractions.
Leads perfectly into you finding your way through the struggle, not through the peace.