The Impulse Filter

“Don’t be bounced around, but submit every impulse to the claims of justice, and protect your clear conviction in every appearance.”


In The Daily Stoic today, the author points out that every day brings a multitude of impulses, both high and low. And then he challenges us: what if we had an impulse filter that would help us determine which ones to pay attention to, and which to resist/ignore?

Well, prepare to be shocked (not really): we do have that filter. It’s our ability to apply the virtues of justice and reason, and shine a light upon events as they arise in our daily lives. It’s entirely possible for us to use the power of our mind, and the wisdom of stoic thought, to help us identify our impulses and control our responses to them. We don’t have to be enslaved by impulse, because we have the ability within us to become the master over them.

Ryan Holiday summed it up nicely when he said, “Put more simply: think before you act.” Use your filter to distinguish between the good and bad urges that come our way, and your reasoned choice to decide how you’re going to react.

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