Artwork for podcast Voice over Work - An Audiobook Sampler
Amor Fati from Stop Negative Thinking by Nick Trenton
Bonus Episode9th November 2022 • Voice over Work - An Audiobook Sampler • Russell Newton
00:00:00 00:10:33

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One way of rethinking your relationship to the past is to adopt the Stoic attitude of amorphanti.

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This translates roughly to love of one's fate and is a sentiment that is sadly not common in modern hearts and minds.

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With this attitude, one does not not merely tolerate one's fate, but embraces it, loves it.

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Whatever happens in life, and that includes all the painful, confusing and difficult parts, is welcomed and appreciated as something beautiful and in its way, necessary.

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In his book Encharidion, Epictetus advises us, do not seek for things to happen the way you want them to, rather, wish that what happens the way it happens, then you'll be happy.

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In other words, learn to want what is, and you cease to fight against anything.

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He tells us in a later work, The Art of Living, that prudent people look beyond the incident itself and seek to form the habit of putting it to good use.

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In his famous work Meditations, Much Love, stoic philosopher Marcus Orelius says universe whatever is constant with you is consonant with me.

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If something is timely for you, it's neither too early nor too late for me.

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Nature everything is fruit to me that your seasons bring.

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Everything comes from you.

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Everything is contained in you, everything returns to you.

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Can you feel the enormous sense of relief in that passage?

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These philosophers suggest that we quietly bear our misfortunes and be strong, but they're taking it somewhat further.

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Our misfortunes with the attitude of amorphati are in fact not things to bear and endure and tolerate, but things to embrace.

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If reality itself is seen fit to make certain things occur, who are you to argue?

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In fact, why should you do anything other than be glad that events have unfolded in the way they have?

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This way of thinking takes some time to digest, since it is so radically different from the typical sense of regret, dissatisfaction and resistance most of us are taught to eliminate when it comes to our lives.

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Although the original principles came from Stoic philosophers like Seneca and Aurelius, it was also the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who revived the theme in his book etceomo.

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Saying, My formula for greatness in a human being is amorphati, that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity, not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it.

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All idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary, but love it.

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This is a profound paradigm shift.

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What do you think your life would be like if you genuinely wanted nothing to be different and embraced every event, past, present and future as something marvelous?

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This sentiment goes beyond accepting what is, and the Buddhist philosophers would certainly understand this point.

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It's about being decidedly enamored with all the shapes and contours of one's own life.

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Nietzsche continues in his book The Gay Science I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things then I shall be one of those who makes things beautiful, amorphonti.

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Let that be my love.

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Henceforth, I do not want to wage war against what is ugly.

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I do not want to accuse.

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I do not even want to accuse.

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Those who accuse looking away shall be my only negation.

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And all in all, and on the whole, someday I wish to be only a yessayer.

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Here, Nietzsche hints at the enormous potential that the amrfati attitude can bring about.

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If we not only accept but love, what is our fate?

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We give ourselves the opportunity to find, create or amplify any possible beauty, meaning and power in those events.

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We can transfigure and transform them.

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We go from being reactive, strugglers against reality, always saying no to those who have gratitude, curiosity and positivity built in everything they do so that there's nothing that they cannot say yes to.

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If all of this sounds overly abstract, don't worry.

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There are very simple ways to cultivate amorphanti in your own life right now.

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Tip one define the event as objectively as possible.

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Remember that a thing is only good or bad because of the perspective you're taking on it.

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What is a tragedy for one is a blessing for another and completely neutral for a third.

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Try to look at events without the veil of your own resistance, judgment, or opinion spread on top of it.

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To do this, write down an account of the event in the plainest, most neutral terms you can imagine, as if you were an uninvolved third party watching from afar.

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Do not put any interpretations, emotions or opinions into the mix.

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When you read this back to yourself, you'll see how much more manageable it is.

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Tip two have a mantra.

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Jocko Willing is an ex Navy Seal and an author, and his mantra for all difficult or unpleasant situations is simple good.

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He says, when things are going bad, don't get all bummed out.

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Don't get startled, don't get frustrated.

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No, just look at the issue and say Good.

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Now, I don't mean to say something trite.

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I'm not trying to sound like Mr.

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Smiley positive guy.

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That guy ignores the hard truth.

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That guy thinks a positive attitude will solve problems.

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It won't, but neither will dwelling on the problem.

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No, accept reality, but focus on the solution.

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Take that issue, take that setback, take that problem and turn it into something good.

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Whatever mantra you choose, say it out loud to yourself when you catch yourself feeling decidedly not in love with your fate.

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Okay?

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Thank you.

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So it is.

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Yes, I welcome it.

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Tip three focus on action.

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Focus on solutions.

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It would be a big mistake to assume that loving one's fate is the same as being a passive, defeated fatalist.

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In fact, the opposite is true.

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Only when you fully and completely embrace what is can you properly engage with your full range of choice, agency and power.

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We should love what is, but that doesn't mean, we forfeit our chance to have a say, take action and attempt to influence that reality.

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When we love a challenge, we transform it into an opportunity.

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When we love our flaws and weaknesses, we start to see that they can open doors to our evolution and growth.

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When we love our enemies, we can begin to see them as teachers.

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When we love our tragedies, accidents and losses, they begin to feel to us like gifts.

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Take a look at the problem you've described and ask about your scope to change it.

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Think of what you can do.

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Break that task down into smaller chunks and then commit to taking the very next step right now, if possible.

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If we only ever resist adversity, say no to reality and fight against it, all those potential gifts, opportunities, lessons and insights are lost.

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When you really think about it, is it such a wonderful thing to always get what we think we want?

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