Have you ever found yourself overwhelmed by your own thoughts and emotions? Then you know it’s difficult to navigate and control them. So what do you do? Perhaps act out, get angry and blaming others, blaming circumstance, feel like a victim? But what if I told you that there is a system; a philophy that can help you manage your emotional thoughts and put them in perpective? What if I told you this philosophy has been around for centuries, used by everyone from ancient greek philosophers, roman emperors to Nelson Mandela, and now it is available to you. This article will tell you what you need to know to implement the philosophical school of thought known as stoicism.
What is it?
I define it as a philosophy of personal ethics based on logic, which enables you to separate yourself (and foremost your mind) from what happens in the world and your emotional response to it.
If you are a Star Trek fan, it’s similar to Vulcan philosophy which revolves around the concept of logic, where the highest objective of a Vulcan is either control or suppress all emotion creating a purely logical being. For Vulcans this difficult task is attained through meditation and discipline (Winning Discipline)? :).
Lets take a step back and ask ourselves: what is philosophy?
- Philosophy is a way of thinking about the world, the universe, and society.
- Philosophy comes from greek: philosophia, means “love of wisdom”, and is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.
- It works by asking basic questions about the nature of human thought, the nature of the universe, and the connections between them.
- It is important to know that one of the primary meanings of philosophy was “systematic investigation.”
Your present world view is your personal philosophy.
An example from qoura: Your life experience is your knowledge and wisdom mixed and distilled into philosophy. Your brain is designed this way: It gets the input, registers it, examines it, and saves the results. A child who touched a hot kettle received the input and gave it meaning—“hot kettles hurt” —and then formed a piece of philosophy that informed him how to conduct his life—“avoid hot kettles.”
The ideas in philosophy are often general and abstract. But this does not mean that philosophy is not about the real world. Ethics, for example, asks what are the ideas underlying our everyday lives.
- critical discussion,
- rational argument and
- systematic presentation.
Classic philosophical questions:
- Is it possible to know anything and to prove it?
- What is most real?
However, philosophers might also pose more practical and concrete questions such as:
- Is there a best way to live?
- Is it better to be just or unjust (if one can get away with it)?
- Do humans have free will?
What is logic?
Logic from the Ancient Greek: logikḗoriginally meaning “the word” or “what is spoken” , but coming to mean “thought” or “reason”, is generally held to consist of the systematic study of the form of arguments. A valid argument is one where there is a specific relation of logical support between the assumptions of the argument and its conclusion.
Back to meaning of Stoicism!
The path to happiness.
Stoic comes from the Greek stōïkos, derived from stoa, meaning porch. The original reference is that on porch is where the influential Stoic: Zeno of Cyprus taught his classes around 300 BC.
So what does stoicism help us with?
Stoicism claims that the path to happiness is found in accepting what we have been given in life, and not allowing ourselves to be controlled by our desire for pleasure or our fear of pain, by using our minds to understand the world around us and to do our part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others in a fair and just manner.
I love this! For me to have a philosphy for life is to have system for life, a “default pattern” for my thoughts. And that is (in my world view) always better than no system. Read more on our interconnective systems appproach!
The basics of Stoicism
It consists of 4 cardinal virtues. Hey! Lets stop there! What is a virtue? Acording to Wikipedia, “A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being.” Okey. Soo far so good. What are the 4 cardinal virtues?
- Temperance or as I prefer: Discipline (But other words work, like: Self control or swedish: “måttfullhet”)
You have 2 essential tasks in life
- To be a good person (see the 4 cardinal virtues above)
- Pursue the occupation that you love
Everything else is a waste of energy according to Stoicism.
Ataraxia and Aponia.
For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia—peace and freedom from fear—and aponia—the absence of pain—and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. Ataraxia is the same another favorite word of mine: equanimity; which is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind. It is popularly used in yoga where you feel pain when you are in bodily pain when you take your limbs in their deepes range of motion (ROM), but stay calm and do not react. He taught that pleasure and pain are measures of what is good and evil; death is the end of both body and soul and therefore should not be feared; the gods neither reward nor punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.
DONT GET EMOTIONAL – GET FOCUSED!
Stoicisim is a way of living life -> Lex divina -> the devine mind
Guide how to start becoming a stoic:
1 . Acknowledge That All Emotions Come From Within and That We Create Our Own Feelings
You decide if you like something. You decide if you want something. You decide if you don’t like something. Those are decisions that are up to you, not up to the person, place, thing, or idea in question.
2. Find a Respected Mentor See FLAWD Mentor program
3. Know That Failure Happens, but Life Goes On
4. Read and Learn with Purpose and Apply Your New Knowledge
5. Be Brutally Honest with Yourself
6 Reflect on Your Time Use See FLAWD – Focused Prod Course
7. Reflect on Your Money Use See FLAWD Money Post
8 .Reflect on Your Purpose, and Whether You’re Actually Doing Things in Line with That Purpose. – See FLAWD Exponential Year Course – Application based process
9. Kill Procrastination, for It Is Your Enemy See FLAWD – Focused Prod Course
10. Be Present in Each Moment. See FLAWD – Focused Prod Course
11. Ask Yourself “Why” When You Have an Emotional Response
12 Remember That the Greatest Virtue Is a Rational Life
Anything can be an advantage
It’s easy to take philosophy to the extreme. But who does that serve? It alienates people and even threatens them! Outward transformation clothes car and so on might fee important! But it’s the inward change that matters!! That only we know about!!
The stoics was not monks. They did not retreat to a temple or similar. They where soldiers. Politicians. Business. Artist. They practiced their philosophy amongst the business of life just as you. Ruthlessly remove the inessential of life. What vanity signs up is to do, what greed tells us, what lack of courage prevents us to say no to. All of this we must cut cut cut
Wisdom. Does not matter where it comes from. It matters if it makes your life better or not.
Shortcut to being rich!! Want less!! Haha best!!! ?
- Diogenes of Babylon
- Marcus Aurelius
- Nelson Mandela
- Tim Ferriss
- Ryan Holiday
Books to read more.
Are there other philospies? Probably! If they are better we will implement them instead!
If you find stoicism to be as interesting and valuable, there are several books well worth reading on the subject.
- The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday is my favorite modern introduction to stoicism. It focuses on how modern people can use the things they can control to overcome the obstacles in modern life.
- The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday it consists of 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living and is a great add-on to the Obstacle is the way.
- Letters from a Stoic by Seneca is a great collection of essays on the classic elements of stoicism: that the universe is governed by rational rules; that a content life is achieved by a simple and rational life with duty toward a central purpose; that human suffering and failure is a part of life and can teach us many things; and that study and learning and thoughtful conversation are incredibly important.
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, who was a second century AD Roman emperor. These are actually his personal notes, as he didn’t seem to intend them for publication, but it’s a very practical look at how a person can apply the principles of stoicism in life. Marcus Aurelius was clearly committed to stoicism and his writings are very insightful.
Videos to get you going:
Don’t do the mistake on fully subscribing to this philosophy without reading more. However I think that there is a great deal deal to learn about personal growth, personal finance, and achieving your goals from stoicism. I find that the more I read and reflect, the more ideas I have with which to improve my life and make better decisions, especially in the face of challenges and temptation.
Stoicism has helped me personally in my journey and I believe these principles can help you, too.
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Thank you for reading and listening! You are awesome! 🙂
Peter is Podcaster, CrossFit Coach, Security Professional and productivity expert. He is the founder of FLAWD.se and the author of Security Encyclopedia: SakerhetsBibeln.se. Peter blogs about health, technology and productivity. Peter is on a mission to help you to Focus, implement success disciplines and to Win in life!