I practiced Stoicism even before I read about it. If you don’t know what it is, it is a philosophy. So what is Stoicism?
“The philosophy asserts that virtue (meaning chiefly, the 4 cardinal virtues of self-control, courage, justice, and wisdom) is happiness, and it is our perception of things – rather than the things themselves – that cause most of our trouble. Stoicism teaches that while we can’t control or rely on anything outside (our reasoned choice) – we always have this ability to use our reason to choose how we categorize, respond, and re-orient ourselves to external events.”
There are some really valuable lessons from this Philosophy, and these are:
- Direct your efforts
- Plan all the way to the end (begin with the end in mind). Our efforts should have directions
- Know thyself
- Reflect on yourself. Self-reflection allows us to live a better life
- Change your expectations
- “No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have,” I just quoted someone, forgot who and can’t be bothered to search again
- The Stoics say that by wanting nothing, we can have everything
- Expect the unexpected
- The things that happen around just happens. Most of the time, we can do nothing about it, but we can always choose how to react to it. Just like that we can have choices – of our opinion and desires. Complaining and frolicking about what’s already happened is useless, it’s a waste of time, it really isn’t going to solve anything.
- Nothing is inherently good or bad
- If someone said something bad about you, and you heard about it, it isn’t necessarily good or bad. It’s just their opinion of you. How you react to it makes it good or bad. If you hate smoking and think that it’s bad for you, you still have to understand that each of us has our own perspective on specific things and issues.
- Dealing with haters
- Is the hater’s opinion inside my control? If there’s a chance for influence, I’ll take it. If not, then I’ll accept the person as they are and don’t hate back. It’s a waste expending time and energy trying to influence someone who shows disrespect.
- Our actual needs are small
- Material things give us temporary highs. But the necessary things we need to live a happy life, obviously, are not everything we want that we think we really need.
- Don’t get mad
- An awkward conversation may just be all that it takes to resolve a problem you have with that particular person. Marcus Aurelius said, “If the person will listen, you will have cured them without useless anger.”
- Complaining is futile
- It accomplishes only one thing – put yourself and the others involved in a negative state of mind. Complain less, appreciate more.
- Attachments are the enemy
- Let’s face it, attachment eventually causes unhappiness. Prime example of this was if you loved someone dearly and they died or left you, you would be devastated (obviously). This attachment is not limited to a person, but to places, events, etcetera. We must adapt or “die.”
- Life is long, if you know how to use it
- If we make good use of our lives, it won’t be so short as we see it.
- The Big 3
- All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment, action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way. These means, control your perceptions, direct your actions properly, and willingly accept what’s outside of your control.