- “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
- “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
- “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
- “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …”
- “Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together,but do so with all your heart.”
Month: January 2022 (Page 1 of 2)
“Is the oil spilled? Is a little wine stolen? Say on the occasion, at such price is sold freedom from being upset; at such price is sold tranquillity, but nothing is got for nothing.”Epictetus
The ability to confront adversity can be a great tool, especially if we anticipate surprising events. No one likes to be caught off guard by misfortune. Preparing for the worst case scenario can help us deal with events that pop up along the way. A lot of the great stoics, and philosophers for that matter, spent a lot of time playing through scenarios to be able to respond optimally when the time called for it. It seems like little has actually changed in human nature since early Stoa, as much as we like to think we’ve advanced as mankind. We can all benefit from exercising forethought. If things go better than expected, great. If they go worse? Then you’re prepared.
Learning to accept and embrace silence can be difficult. Filling gaps of silence in conversations or meetings may seem necessary but it rarely is. One thing I’ve learned in the business world is that people use silence to their advantage. Everyone knows these situations are awkward and some take advantage of it to get you to spill the beans on some project or mention a weakness or flaw in something. Whatever it may be, there isn’t a need. Embrace the silence. Use it to your advantage instead. Some things are better left unsaid.
Humility and compassion are a few practices that don’t often get associated with Stoicism. I assumed Stoicism was more or less compassion-free and disregarding the need to connect with others. But after a bit of digging, my ignorance couldn’t be further from the truth. One of if not the most famous Stoics, Marcus Aurelius, has so much on these topics in his writings. Even the underlying principles of interconnectedness that define Stoicism point to the need for humility and compassion constantly.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Be something bigger than yourself,” or something similar, and that is one of the principles Stoics want to aim for when thinking of the Universe as a single entity. Fragmentation can’t be good because it divides what is meant to be whole. We know exactly what it means to do good and to be a good person. We feel a twinge of discomfort when we go against what we ought to be doing for a reason — We know better.
“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius
“It’s ruinous for the soul to be anxious about the future and miserable in advance of misery, engulfed by anxiety that the things it desires might remain it’s own until the very end. For such a soul will never be at rest— by longing for things to come it will lose the ability to enjoy present things.”Seneca the Younger
Something you probably hear all the time is to, “Live in the present.” Apart of Epectetus, Seneca has some really great concepts on this philosophy. Someone new should start with his collection of writings called, Letters from a Stoic. He has a lot of interesting perspectives on the shortness of life, warning us not to waste time should we only regret it.
The amount of distractions make it almost impossible for us to not waste our time, whether it be avoiding responsibilities or focusing on things outside of our control. We also have a tendency to focus our valuable time on things that aren’t good for our purpose in life. Spend time with your family and friends. Spend time working on yourself, but not on things that won’t help you grow. The better you are, the better those around you will be.
“No man is free who is not master of himself”Epictetus
This is something that gets lost in today’s world where short-term pleasure is glorified. Think about all the things that make you impatient or test your will that seem trivial. We’ve been conditioned in a very short amount of time to be annoyed when something doesn’t happen fast enough. I am as guilty for this as anyone else but take some time and reflect on what is really happening. You are letting an outside source control your emotions and your ability to think or rationalize , both of which are better for your soul than short-term emotional distress. Control your own destiny.
“Some passions cannot be approached tenderly, but are best conquered by main force”Posidonius of Rhodes