Cosmic Scale

Considering your size within the context of the universe is an effective way to gain perspective. Stoics, such as Marcus Aurelius, would use this strategy when faced with annoying people. Simply take a moment to think about your body, on the face of the Earth, next to other planets, orbiting the sun, within a galaxy and so on. You start to realize that annoying things like spilled rice and stupid drivers don’t matter that much.

A simple example is one where another driver cuts you off while driving. In this example no physical harm occurs—maybe you hit your brakes, but there was no accident. Instead of losing your temper and cursing out the violator you could take control of your emotions by considering the cosmic impact of the annoyance. It probably prolonged your car ride by minutes (if you ended up hitting a red light) or more likely just seconds. It was but a moment in your entire life, why let that moment cause lasting harm to yourself by getting angry and then later complaining about it to a friend.

By reminding ourselves of our scale in the universe and how insignificant each of our individual actions are you may be able to stop “sweating the small stuff” as it were.

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